Showing posts with label networking for writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label networking for writers. Show all posts

Monday, August 10, 2020

Tips for a Better Zoom Experience

Tips for a Better Zoom Experience
To Zoom or not to Zoom? It's not even a question. 

These days, Zoom is the primary platform for connecting people and events. Whether you are attending a virtual conference, workshop, or networking event, it helps to be comfortable with the platform.

My friend Steve Dotto, Dotto Tech, created a series of Zoom videos, and here are two to give you a nice background without too much overwhelm:

Zoom Basics:


And Zoom FAQs:

Beyond Zoom basics, here are a few things you need to know for a better Zoom experience:

1. Download Zoom. Before you attend a Zoom-hosted event, download the software on your computer. It'll make it much easier to join in when the event-time comes, so you are not scrambling to connect. You do not have to sign up for a paid account - a free account will enable you to personalize your Zoom experience, so your name and image will show up when you attend an event. 

Yes, you can use the Zoom app on your phone, but I think the computer - or tablet - makes for a better experience. It's much easier to watch, chat, and listen when you are not concerned about the position of your phone.

2. Use a Headset/Mic. You don't need to invest in a fancy microphone to Zoom. However, plugging in your hands-free earbuds - like the one on your smartphone - will reduce background noice, while making it easier for others to hear you. Keep your phone on mute unless you are talking. I also recommend turning off your video when someone else is presenting a workshop or seminar. Frequently the host will turn off the video and audio for all until the Q&A at the end. 

3. Clear the Clutter. Set up your computer in a place where the background is clean. You don't want your messy kitchen or office distracting others from the conversation. Zoom also has background options you can use with a green screen or clear background. However, those can tend to be distracting. My office setup has my book and my logo framed behind me. Simple, clean branding done the old-fashioned way.

4. Write Out Your Deets. Have your contact details ready to cut and paste into the Zoom chat box (usually in the bottom right of the screen). Keep a notepad doc with your website, email, and LinkedIn link. Use the https:// so it shows up as clickable. That way you don't have to retype it ever time you have a call. Oh, and be sure to save the chat toward the end of each meeting, so you have the info of others too. 

5. Avoid Zoom Overload. As easy as it may be to schedule several video conferences in one day - you're dressed. why not? - it's much better to pace yourself. Video calls take a lot of extra energy. Try to limit them to just a one or two a day and, if you have more, schedule downtime in between sessions. 

Bonus: Follow up: Like in an IRL event, if you make a new friend or business connection, be sure to follow up. Connect on LinkedIn, set up a coffee meet, and/or invite them to another event. 

The same rules to real-life events apply to virtual ones. Be polite (not salesy). Make new friends. Be genuine. And have fun. That's key for any event, live or virtual. Enjoy yourself and you will attrack like minds in the process.

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What are your tips for Zoom? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Writers Conferences - Two Awesome Tips on Why to Attend

By Wanda Luthman

Have you ever attended a Writers Conference?

Every time I see one advertised, I sigh because they cost A LOT of money, plus travel, plus hotel and food. The first one I went to, I knew someone else that was attending and I asked if I could come as their guest just to see what the fuss was all about. She agreed and I was able to attend the first day of the three-day event for a reduced price. (There's your first tip.)

I LOVED it! 

I met wonderful authors who told me fantastic stories about their lives and I heard great speakers. I had caught the conference bug. But, how was I going to be able to afford them?

The answer came in the form of an email. There’s a local group of authors who call themselves Authors for Authors and they put on two book events a year (spring and fall), locally and for a reasonable table price. The spring one had dwindling attendance so I guess the group decided to switch it up and offer a conference instead.

I received their email about a local conference last spring and I didn’t immediately jump on it because the speakers were all people I knew and I thought to myself (not out loud mind you), ‘what can these people teach me?’

I know, I know, that sounds very haughty and I certainly didn’t everything I’m not sure myself why I felt that way other than that bible scripture that says something about a prophet not being recognized as a prophet in their own home town.

Anyway, one of the organizers, Valerie Allen, was persistent and kept asking me to come and I could even have a table to sell my books. Eventually I signed up for both the conference and for a sales table.

Man, was I blown away with the speakers! 

Those local people did know stuff and knew A LOT more than I did and I learned so much. Plus, I sold books! And I was able to network with other authors which is always fun. I had a great time!

So, this year, when the email came around again, I signed up right away but I didn’t get a table. I realized last time that I couldn’t just enjoy visiting while I was manning a table and this year I wanted my freedom to socialize.

The conference was held on Sunday, April 22nd this year and I can tell you it was an equally wonderful experience, if not even better. I absolutely love talking with other authors. We’re a friendly bunch, you know. And we love to help each other out. I learn so much from other people and that means I don’t have to re-create the wheel. I, also, enjoy sharing what tips and tricks I have learned over my 4 years of being a self-published author.

I want to encourage you to attend at least one conference and see if you don’t get the conference-going bug too! And I highly encourage you to check out local ones. (There's your second tip.) At least you won’t have to pay for a hotel or travel. And you just might be surprised, like I was, with the wealth of experience and knowledge in your own backyard.

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at and follow her on Facebook at


The Lazy Way to Be a Great Writer
Publishing Takes More Than Good Intentions
Point-of-View and Children’s Storytelling

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Can Marketing and Networking Harm Your Writing Career?

Can you market your work and network too much? My writer friends and I have discussed this question several times over and it can be quite controversial depending on where an author is in the process of a writing career. Early on in the beginning of my writing adventure  marketing and networking was part of every course I took. Build your platform, network with other writers in your genre, network with writers, publishers, illustrators on social networks to help get your name out there, blog to build an audience, and offer to write for free to get your feet wet. Everywhere I turned, someone was telling me to get myself out there.

 As I began finding my way, the advice included Query, query, query.... find a publisher you want to write for and send your ideas. Worry about the writing when you have an accepted idea. Write for various free sites and build your article folder, make yourself an expert and the work will find its way to you. Etc. Etc. Etc. New and seasoned writers know the drill. Does all this sound familiar? But when is too much marketing and networking harmful to your career and when is it enough?

Here is what I have discovered over the past 10 years of writing and trying to build a takes discipline to stay on course and courage to promote yourself in a humble way, Yet marketing and networking is essential even when  it can be too much and it can be harmful. Here is a quick list of when and how it can hurt your career.

  1. Marketing and networking can be harmful if all you do is market, network, and never sit down to write or create a product. You loose your authenticity when you say you have a product or you promise your book to your audience but you do not deliver. It is only a positive reflection on you as an author if you have something valuable to offer your audience and you continue to provide what you promise in your marketing campaign. 
  2. Social media is a fabulous tool but it is only a positive tool if you are using it to either promote your product, book, or service. It is also a positive career move to promote others through social media especially those in your field of interest and those who can help you to grow as an author. Social media can have a negative impact on your career if you find yourself distracted from your writing or if you get caught up in the negative or false leads that social media can trend or if you use social media to procrastinate from the job you need to be finishing. 
  3. If you see positive results with the marketing techniques you are currently using and you can schedule your time like any other task it can be positive for your writing career. If you focus all of your free time on marketing and networking at the expense of writing time or family time it can be detrimental to both your professional and family relationships. There must be a healthy balance between writing, marketing, and family obligations. 
  4. Marketing can be self-absorbing if you are the only one saying good things about your work. While we need to be our own best horn blower,, at some point you must count on the opinions of others in the form of reviews of your work, comments on your blog, notes from editors, and such to balance and provide an objective view of your products. Someone somewhere must notice your work... your tried and true product or story. It can harm your career if you are the only one saying you are a great author. Networking with authentic people in your area of expertise can validate your work and in turn promote your career in a positive way. 
Marketing and networking must be guarded and planned just like the story you create or the product you develop. Care must always be taken to make sure the actions you take to promote your career are helping and not harming your reputation as a writer. 

About the author: Terri Forehand writes from her home in Nashville Indiana. When she is not writing, designing, or crafting she spends time working in the neonatal intensive care, spending time with grand kids, and running the small fabric shop she owns with her husband, She is the author of The Cancer Prayer Book and The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. She is currently working on an picture book about first aide for first graders.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Optimising Social Networking for Authors

I know that all of you are social media mavens. I know that you've all got Facebook, LinkedIn, a range of Ning accounts, use Shelfari, Library Thing and Goodreads, and are Twittering regularly. But is it enough? Are you maximising the value of these tools in order to draw in more readers and create a permanent network of fans, colleagues and associates who will be part of your 'clan' for the long run? If you're like most people you probably worry about it, so here are a few tips for optimising your social networking.

Quality outweighs quantity. I know there are people out there, like Ashton Kutcher, who not only disagree with me, but have proven me wrong. But we don't all have the Kutcher's genes or the luxury of a full time publicist. For the rest of us mortals, we need to draw in friends who can help us grow, who can draw us into wider and relevant networks - link with the socially adept, the successful, and seek them out in your networks. That doesn't mean you have to be choosy or refuse friend requests, but you can at least focus your targeting efforts on those who you want to emulate and whose networks fit your messages, your books, your focus.

Don't spread yourself too thinly. Yes, I'm guilty of this and you probably are too. It's better to pick a few highly visible networks and post on them regularly networking strongly there than do tiny, sporatic bits and pieces all over the place. There are so many networks, and new ones are springing up all the time - touting to be the new facebook for writers, asking you to post regularly, to blog there, to participate. If you try and keep up with it all you won't get any writing done. So pick a few and give them a little extra love. I tend to focus my energy these days on Facebook (especially my author page -, Twitter (, LinkedIn:, and Good Reads  That's plenty for me!

Give at least as much as you get. Answer other people's questions. Congratulate other people's successes. Support your fellow writers by retweeting their information, commenting on their blogs, and sharing their links. it isn't all about sales - it's also about creating global community and when the time comes for you to gather in the support you'll find that what you've given out comes back to you in spades.

When social networking works well, it's a global village where we all work together for the sake of meaning making. In the words of Sarah Blasko, the burden's not just your own. If you're authentic and really, truly connect, then you'll find that your promotional, and indeed even your writing task, is made easier. You'll be stimulated and supported by people who have become more than just tenuously linked strangers.

About the author: Magdalena Ball is the author of Sleep Before Evening, Repulsion Thrust, Quark Soup, and a number of collaborations and anthologies. Find out more about Magdalena and grab a free copy of her book The Literary Lunch at

Every Writer Needs Connections

  By W. Terry Whalin   @terrywhalin Wherever you are in the writing world: brand new or experienced every writer needs publishing connection...