#Romance University for Writers: A Gold Class #Writing Site

Printhttp://romanceuniversity.org

Purpose: Dedicated to helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind.

Monday: Crafting Your Career
Most writers begin writing because they love the process–using just the right word, crafting the perfect sentence, giving life to imaginary people. However satisfying the writing process, many writers begin to want more. The want people to read about and love those imaginary folks. Okay–they want people to pay to read about those imaginary folks. Join us each Monday at RU where we’ll discuss the business of writing or career topic. Visiting Professors (guest bloggers) often stop by the school to offer advice.

Wednesday: Anatomy of the Mind
This is the day we explore every facet of writing, reading, and men.

Friday: Chaos Theory of Writing
On Fridays, RU Faculty along with industry professionals and established authors will focus on the elements of manuscript writing. Tips to help you hone your craft and write a damn fine book. After all, it will be your writing that will catch (and retain) the interest of a lucky agent or editor.We’ll tap into our own experiences, share what’s working and what isn’t as we chase our dreams of becoming published authors. We’ll also discuss advice from our favorite writing reference books and websites. So join us each Friday to experience the chaos of writing.”

Gold class sites

A Needed Reminder on the Rewards of Writing

We all stress as writers: bad reviews, low blog stats, poor interaction with readers, horrible sales figures, word counts not met, trolls and idiots, technological hassles… there are so many issues. For some reason we tend to focus heavily on them. Maybe the creative process just brings our insecurities to the fore?

While wandering around Twitter I found this profile which gave me a much-needed jerk back to reality.

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Guess which is more fun: it’s not hard. It’s the writing. That is why we got into it in the first place!

I decided to follow Mervat. I like her attitude and on bad days, I hope it rubs off on me.

Go have some fun.

 

N.B. This image was used without her permission, but Twitter is public. Please follow and support @miminov70


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.

When You Feel Like Originality Has Passed You By…

Meridan PlainsIt was during the early 1990′s that I started to write “The Chronicles of Mirchar.” This was before the Internet, it had never been published and I felt my place and character names were pretty safe. I’d never seen them anywhere.

Then around 2003 or so, my husband and I were on holidays in a coastal area I had never been to. This area was fairly new and the suburb name: Meridan Plains. They had “stolen” my continent name! Even though my series was long since abandoned at the time… and had never seen the light of day outside my desk… I still felt the sting of losing my exclusive name. As I had (stupidly) destroyed my original manuscripts, I didn’t even have the satisfaction of storming into their local Council office to demand answers. “Where did you get this from, it was mine!” You know how it is when you get attached to your work. You take the oddest things rather personally…

I went online, checked all my old character names, had a little cry at my lack of originality and vowed to never, ever repeated the mistake. I would research all my names in case I had subconsciously “acquired” someone else’s idea. Then I was working on a name for a key character earlier this year and liked the name “Mirabelle.” I hadn’t read anything where it was used by my favourite authors and it looked safe to me. I did no further checking. It was just an old fashioned girl’s name. A few weeks later, I opened the cupboard. Months earlier we had changed light bulb types and voila!

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[Epic facepalm!] I named a favourite character after a light bulb. Please hold back on the “she must be a bright spark,” jokes! So much for learning that lesson. Though there is one thing I did learn from that: no matter what the genre, you don’t have to be perfect all the time… have fun and do what you want anyway. As one idea leads to another, then yet another, you never know what may come from it.

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If you ever need it, this is how you name characters, places and construct languages in fantasy stories.
keepcalmandloveminions

Character images property of Universal Studios.

1. Base them on known sounds and words so they strike a familiar chord with readers and don’t sound fake. Case in point, in the movie Despicable Me 2, the Minions call an apple “papple” and their banana language comes from a mix of many languages including Spanish, French, English etc. They will say “belo” instead of “hello.” You get the picture, it’s just close enough to sound right to our ears.

2. Building a fantasy language is a mammoth task! Try and stick to key phrases such as patriotic slogans, greetings and commonly used words, unless you head goes spinning off or you feel a strong need to sue someone, when you find out they used YOUR word!

3. Link your language into cultural elements: eg. In the Game of Thrones, in the Dothraki culture the word graddakh means “one who walks.” This is a status inference. You are worthy or unworthy as you are able to ride, or are too weak or forbidden to ride. It reflects your societal value. Using words like that gives them a great deal of power.

4. Document your language very well so you don’t contradict yourself, can build a glossary on your web site or into your books, and hey, if you get to the level of Sir Terry Pratchett, you can make a mint out of it. Or have people playing your equivalent of Klingon Boggle (video below for the Big Bang Theory fans).

5. Learn to be at peace with the fact that you will probably never get a totally original name or word and that’s OK. If it is recognisable as a possible native tongue, you aced it!

Creative Commons License

This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Surviving BIG Blogging Mistakes

2014-02-14_09-23-58Sometimes we goof. We put up dead links, make spellling misteaks, or publicly make ourselves look as credible as Jar Jar Binks. “Yoosa should follow me now, okeeday?” *shudder* If you have made a grand faux pas, how do you recover?

That is the problem I have been pondering for the last week, as after placing too many promotional posts together, I have consistently lost 60% of my blog traffic. Damn! I wrote a reactive post, then thankfully had the sense to delete it. I realised that those who had walked away, would not be here to read my “ooops, my bad, I will ease up” rant. Instead, I have modified the posts to something much softer… but my ego hurts!

Recovery from a blooper will not come by force. The answer isn’t in storming out red-faced either. You have to “get back on the horse, unless you have to go to the hospital.” I am going to continue on as usual. The best blog posts are still pulling in “normal traffic,” so there is hope in that. Maybe my lost readers will forgive me? First, I have to forgive myself for being so dense! No matter how stats orientated we become, it is not the end of the world.

Maybe there are other reasons for a traffic drop I have not considered?

Maybe it’s not solely MY fault?

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean, taken from Kristen's blog. Is there a chiropractor in the house?

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean. Is there a chiropractor in the house?

If you are a sensitive, shy soul, as many of us writers are, when things go wrong, the first person we blame is ourselves. Life is a trial and error process. Creativity has hurdles we jump and get bruised on… and hurdles where we jump, then thrive off the elation of success. Growth comes from knowing there will be dark with the light and accepting that. Berating yourself won’t fix anything, you will just feel worse. Chalk it up as what doesn’t work and stay on that horse!

It comes down to patience, having the guts to try again and not just being greedy for success.

Speaking of success, Kristen Lamb’s blog has the most heartening post on author earnings and what will make you successful. It’s a must-read. In short, it takes patience, professionalism, quality online interaction and a backlist of work to set up a base on – and it occurs over multiple years, not fast. Remember: patience, patience, patience! When we are too eager to become an overnight success, we also become too eager to label ourselves as an instant failure.

Stay faithful to your dreams.

Those of you who are in it for the long haul, are the ones who will succeed.


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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.

Image is from my Bitstrips account.

Help to Solve Your Facebook Fan Page Problems

FB Timeline Unhide NoticeI used to advertise on Facebook: until they bought in timeline. Then the value I gained from my community building attempts died a cruel death. Everyone with a Page is now in the same boat: unless we throw in more and more and more money, which most of us simply can’t do, we have lost a huge chunk of our hard work. I have seen posts go from 800 views to 50 and I am angry. Many people have abandoned their Pages and I don’t blame them.

There are ways we can partially combat this. For a start, posting the image above to make others aware of what they can do, does help. Every time I post this image, it is seen more than other posts. Other ideas I have found online include:

  • Posting status updates which don’t have links in them. They seem to score well with Facebook’s new algorithm as engagement is the key, not just “look at my blog” or “please buy my book.”
  • Posting images which catch attention. They appear to frequently be shared. Some writers will put in an image that goes with their blog post, but place the link in the comments to work the system.
  • Telling your followers frequently to change that box that says “Highlights” to “Posts by Page” so they see all your posts. (See image below.) The problem is, that never stays changed!

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  • Refusing to pay Facebook for ads and promotion when even those who do pay don’t get a fair deal! If you used to pay or do, speak up and tell Facebook you are unhappy and why.
  • Encourage readers to use their own categories and not overfill them with Pages, so posts are more likely to be seen. Then check the categories rather than their timeline for new posts. There is no guarantee this will work, but it may help. I am always losing pages I like, so it can’t hurt to try.
  • Showing followers/fans how to get page notifications (and take that survey!)

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I know it sounds like a lot of work and many repetitive posts, however, if you still want to use Facebook as a promotional tool, the investment may be worth it. Feel free to use any of the screenshots on this post. (Right click on image and “Save As.”)

If you know of other ways, please tell me in the comments! I’d ‘like’ to know (pun intended!)

Most importantly…

VALEN

…please pay it forward this Valentine’s day by clicking Like and commenting on the pages you’re a fan of. The more support you give, the more you will receive. Spread the love!


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.

#Email Marketing and Your Average #Author

IMG_0195 Since early January, I have been inundated with blog posts and emails, telling me that email marketing is A.B.S.O.L.U.T.E.L.Y.  E.S.S.E.N.T.I.A.L.  to the point of being critical to anyone and everyone’s success. I carefully read them, considered implementing it for my own work and then pitched a fit! Why? I do N.O.T.  have the  T.I.M.E.

This advice has been coming from sources I follow and greatly respect. However, I have been marketing online for nearly four years and this is the first time this has come up with so much sink or swim emphasis. Plus I am noting that some are adding to their income by running paid seminars on the topic. Are we falling prey to their marketing? Is email marketing for authors without thousands of followers essential?

Yes, building a following is critical. Yes, keeping followers up to speed with what’s happening is essential. But: isn’t that what our blogs and social media streams were designed to do? That is the reason I was told to get a blog in the first place! If I am over-busy, the first things in my email box to hit the dust are newsletters and blog post notices. They don’t take priority. I know we need all the tools we can utilize to reach our audience, but this seems to be doubling up on what we already do. I don’t have any newsletter content that you won’t find here or on my web site.

The first thing I thought of, beside myself, is the other Indie authors out there, who have kids, work, busy lives, health issues, limited time: how are we supposed to add another thing to the mix?

IMG_0199Mr Internet, have mercy on us! I am noting that the writers who are recommending email marketing are backed by a decent income and those magical beings: staff! I am me. I run everything. There is not enough of me.

If email works for you: awesome! Go for it! But Mr Internet, on behalf of many of us, we work our butts off on our blogs, books and social media. Don’t ask us to repeat what we have to say in yet another expensive, time-chewing form.


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.

Images are from my Bitstrips account.

Writing Research: Sword Fights

Cate Russell-Cole:

This is one of the benefits of occasionally doing a WordPress tag search: you find posts like this that make you go “wow.” I never knew that sword fighting was this complex… ok, I have never tried it. This post is one my Fantasy Writing pals will love. Thanks very much Lithicbee for getting my thinking outside it’s narrow confines! Great post.

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Originally posted on Lithicbee:

I enjoy fight scenes in movies, whether it is some gun-fu or a long martial arts battle or an awesome sword fight, which got me to thinking about how well I can pull off writing one of these scenes for a story. I would love to write a really cool sword fight, for instance, but I a) have never held a sword much less fought with one, and b) am not really familiar with sword terminology. Of course, as writers, we make stuff up all the time, but it is nice to at least sound like we know what we are talking about. So I turned to my pal Google for some help on the subject, and here is a round-up of what I found.

Martin Turner of martinturner.org.uk had two interesting posts, the first about the difficulties of writing a sword fight and how other writers have handled them…

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…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

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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.

Copyright Resources and Additional Marketing Options

crightSince I started sharing my work online in 1996, I have had masses of articles stolen, shared without permission despite requests to the contrary and frankly, I fear for my books. DRM protected or not, I know there is always a way to get around those locks and I know somewhere, I am losing money. So what do you do as a writer? Here are some ideas that will help you.

Have a very clear Copyright on your books and on your blog posts: I have extensive Copyrights on my web site and blog. As they link together, they are worded to cover both sites and to protect my guest posters. Also, place a Copyright on each post, not just at the base or sidebar of your blog: they get missed. I sometimes go to sites and wonder, “is this image available or can I quote that or what?” Make it easy to identify what is allowed and what isn’t. I even cover Pinterest use and try and keep pace with technology. Date it, put your legal name on it and cover your interests! You’ll be covered for fifty years.

home-logo-new2Make work available through the Copyright Clearance Centre if you are a non-fiction author or want your books in libraries. This won’t be applicable for every writer, however, you will receive the royalties you are entitled to, get better exposure etc. Please check their site for details. In Australia, this agency may be helpful. I haven’t used it, so check it out carefully before signing up!

Know your rights so you don’t waste money! Watch out for sites like this one who are out to unnecessarily make money off you! In Australia, this is not needed. As the Copyright Clearance Centre states, placing a copyright on your work is “automatic protection”, which means that copyright protection exists automatically from the time a qualifying work is fixed in a tangible medium (such as paper, film or a silicon chip)…  Neither publication, registration, nor other action is required to secure a copyright, although in some countries use of a copyright notice is recommended, and in a few countries (including the United States) registration of domestic works is required in order to sue for infringement.”

crightusDo your homework! If you are in the United States, the Government Copyright Office is located at this link. In the United Kingdom it is here and in Australia, go here. If still in doubt and worried, always get legal advice. You can also use these sites to get information on what parts of other’s work you can use without having to obtain permission or pay.

If you are happy to share part of your work and allow no or any adaption, you can do what I sometimes do and use a Creative Commons Licence on your blog posts. Go to their web site for more information. Again, it just makes it clear to your readers what is up for grabs and what is “hands off!”

Finally, be aware that you cannot copyright an idea: only what you have actually written, produced, drawn etc. It is the physical work that gets the Copyright. So if you have ideas or plans for novels in your blog posts, those ideas can be taken and used and you have no rights to sue for infringement! If you don’t want that to happen, do what you can to protect yourself by clearly stating that in the Copyright, better still, keep silent if you’ve got an edge on a work you don’t want ripped off.

Good luck and yes, you are welcome to use the Copyright text image at the top of this post and reblogs are very welcome on this post.

REBLOGS WELCOMED


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. 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.

Building A Better Book Cover

Cate Russell-Cole:

This is pure gold. While I have worked as a desktop publisher and am aware of how hard it is to put together a great book cover, I had never considered stock photography as a cliche. It is when you think about it. Its a good thing I can rarely afford it! Thank ou K.M. Alexander for a really useful post.

Originally posted on I make stories.:

Let’s Talk About Your Book Cover.
Along with being a writer I am also a designer. I’ve been designing for 15 years now, having done everything from posters, logos, email campaigns, web sites, before eventually settling into user experience design. I mention my pedigree such as it is, only because I want to talk about some concerns I have over design advice  given to indie authors who are diving into self-publishing.

There seems to be a great many folks out there who claim you can make a well designed book cover with a cheap stock photo and a bit of text. I have seen these articles pop up on blogs all over. Every single time I just get frustrated. Why? Well, frankly… they’re totally wrong.

A Short Design Lesson

A well designed cover is so much more. It’s clever. It’s engaging. It’s attractive. It’s enticing. Chip Kidd—arguably one of the best cover designers in the…

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Book Promotion Tweets: What to Avoid, What to Copy

twitter coffeeI spend a lot of time on Twitter. As I only follow writers, I see many authors sharing their books. Some promos are great and some make me cringe on the author’s behalf. Below are some of the best and worst to help you evaluate how you promote your work.

Note: this is just MY opinion. I have explained why I felt they were lacking. My opinions are based on what I have learnt when studying marketing and on what subjectively turns me off. Please share your opinions on what does and doesn’t work in the comments.

Poorly Written and I Will Scroll Past: 

I also write books about medics and stuff…

@yyyyyyyy Artist. author, poet, & musician, WOW! Check … website out (Cate’s response: If the punctuation doesn’t have you scrolling past, the lack of a solid reason to go there, will.)

“I want you to want me. I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me. But just like me for now. FB Me…….” (Cate’s response: are we feeling needy today? Again, it tells me nothing worth following up on.)

“The heavy jacketed shell savagely twisted her body like some life sized doll spun in a pirouette.” (Cate’s response: I already know you are too heavy on descriptions and your punctuation needs work. You’re a beginner, right?)

“… this book, this book seriously just became my number #1 book of the year. ” (Cate’s response: Why the repeat, why is it so good and why is there no link?)

Light From Above | Teckler (url was here and that was it) (Cate’s response: and again, this tells me nothing worth following up.)

@xxxxxxAuthor Excellent book!  #amreading (Cate’s response: great to know someone was supportive, but doesn’t sell me the book. Actually, what IS the book?)

twitter candyI Want to Read More Thanks to this Tweet:

  • ‘A can’t-put-down #thriller‘ If u like Forsyth, Follett, DeMille, u’ll love LAIR OF THE FOX

This was the full Tweet which I have permission to use. It’s a great demonstration on using images effectively on Twitter. Note that where you can buy the book is embedded in the image. Visit Clarissa here.

well done Twitter promo

Please, tell me what you love and hate in the comments.


The above Tweets are copyright to the Tweeters who wrote them. Names have been removed for the negative examples.

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.

Not Your Average Romance Writer: Nora Roberts

Visit Nora’s web site at: http://www.noraroberts.com

Nora-Roberts-pic“Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson; October 10, 1950) is an American bestselling author of more than 209 romance novels. She writes as J.D. Robb for the “In Death” series, and has also written under the pseudonym Jill March. Additionally, some of her works were published in the UK as Sarah Hardesty. Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. Over 280 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone. Time named Roberts one of their 100 Most Influential People in 2007, saying she “has inspected, dissected, deconstructed, explored, explained and extolled the passions of the human heart.” Roberts was one of only two authors on the list, the other being David Mitchell.” Source” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nora_Roberts

Faulty-Tasking

remind meAccording to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, my work pattern is wrong. I write while getting laundry done, checking email, answering the phone and whatever else comes up. It is something we’re used to. Even though we have far more leisure time than our predecessors, we fill it to the brim, so we have to multitask.

So unless you are texting while driving, what is the problem? Well, as good as we think we are at keeping all the balls in the air, the hard data is, we’re taking 50% longer to get things done. We have to go back and redo jobs, as details have been forgotten, and the quality of what we do achieve is not as good. Can we afford that in a competitive writing market?

On TED Talks, a speaker named Paolo Cardini said, “forget multi-tasking, try mono-tasking.” He was advocating limiting the amount of constant, hectic activity we engage in, and doing one thing at a time… with focus. It makes sense. That way we are less stressed, achieve more and what we do is better!

If you do not believe you can get work done any other way, stop, take a deep breath and look at whether or not multitasking is  really working for you. Perhaps you need to schedule time with the Internet off, phone on voicemail and simply focus on what you are writing.


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.

Lessons I Learned from Writing My First Book, by Sandra Nikolai

Bio-234x300The leap into publishing can be an unnerving journey marked with a steep learning curve. Not only do writers have to understand the specifics of the trade, but they also need to wear a variety of hats when handling the different aspects of the business as it evolves.

Some of the lessons I learned while writing and promoting my first mystery novel came from how-to books that still line my shelf. The other lessons I learned came from hands-on experience. From these lessons, I set up five guidelines that would come in handy the second time around. I’d like to share them with you now:

1. Above all, be true to yourself. Write in a genre that is familiar to you. Don’t attempt to write stories about vampires and wizards just because they’re trendy. Write what you know best and write to please yourself—not everybody else. Use a style of writing that comes naturally. It will help you find your author’s voice. Accept who you are as a writer. Trust your instincts and make choices that you won’t regret later on.

2. Organize your time. Most writers agree that writing is a priority, but so many other things begging for attention can be a drain on your time and energy. Writing calls for discipline. Reinforce good writing habits by maintaining a schedule, even if it’s only a couple of hours a day. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish when you’re under pressure! If you encounter a setback one day, keep on going the next. Tomorrow offers a chance to get things back on track. Reward your progress with a good book, a movie or more family fun time in the evening.

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Click on cover to order book.

3. Understand the give and take of social networking. The more time you spend online, the more it takes away from your writing schedule. Try to limit your daily visits online to three sessions of twenty minutes each. Use this time to build up your network, promote your work, and support fellow writers. Walking away from your writing helps to refresh your mind, so these short breaks play a dual role.

4. Hire a professional editor. Your software program might not spot the distinction between there and they’re in a sentence, but a copyeditor will. Feedback is important, and an editor who has expertise in structural or developmental content can be an invaluable asset. If you’re on a tight budget but happen to belong to a writers’ group, you can ask another member to review your manuscript in return for the same service. At the very least, get someone with an excellent knowledge of grammar and punctuation to proofread your work.

5. Promote early. Don’t wait until your book is published. Ask one or more authors to read an advance copy of your book and provide reviews for promotional purposes. Offer to read and review their work in return. Create a buzz about your book months before the release date. Once you have a final book cover design, promote it through social media. Many sites offer free or inexpensive services that help promote authors. Do your research and choose sites that work best for you. If you’re publishing paperback copies, bookmarks with a link to your website or retailer is an economical way to spread the word about your book. Find out which bookstores support local authors and sponsor book-signing events. Some coffee shops hold author events too. It pays to ask around.


1174793_518133394929463_11253479_nFollow Sandra

Website and blog: http://sandranikolai.com

Twitter: @sandranikolai

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraNikolaiAuthor

False Impressions on Amazon US

Fatal Whispers on Amazon US

Bio

Sandra Nikolai graduated from McGill University in Montreal and worked in sales, finance, and high tech before devoting her days to writing. She is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and has published a dozen short stories online and in print, earning Honourable Mentions along the way.

Fatal Whispers follows False Impressions in a mystery series featuring ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott. When not plotting mysteries, Sandra shares her thoughts and experiences about the writing world on her blog and has been a frequent guest writer on other blogs. She lives with her husband near Ottawa, where she is currently at work on her next novel in the series.

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This blog post is Copyright Sandra Nikolai 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.

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.


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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.

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