Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Promoting Tips






You’ve written your book. Now what? How do you get the word out about it?

I’ll tell you what I do for my authors. This will give you an idea of what you can do for yourself, or hire a virtual assistant, like me.

·         I build their Twitter followers every day. (software)

·         I post to their twitter with automatic posts, keeping their book front and center. (software)

·         I post on their blog.

·         I get guest bloggers to post about “writing,” and post on their blog.

·         I post their books on my blog.

·         I post to their Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media that their book would align with.

·         I also post to all my social media about their books.

·         I post to a lot of book groups that are on Facebook.

·         I have bought software to help me promote their books.

·         I do an interview and post it on my blog.

·         I have done book tours.

·         Set up blog interviews.

·         Set up radio interviews.

·         I keep the word out about their books, every day.

·         I’ll run a contest, and the winner will receive an autographed copy of their book.

So, you see, there are many ways to get the word out. There are other social media to consider too. For instance:

Pinterest,
Instagram,
Google+,
YouTube.

I’ll give more book social media in my next article. I hope this helps with getting the word out about your book(s). Don’t let your book sit without using the great online services that are there for you.



Linda Barnett-Johnson, is a Virtual Assistant for authors and enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and making up quotes. Many of her articles and poetry have been published. She’s a former editor, former assistant editor of Long Story Short ezine, former administrative director of Long Story Short School of Writing. You can locate her website here: www.lindabarnett-johnson.com She also posts new books, writing articles and author interviews on her blog:  http://lindabarnett-johnson.blogspot.com/  Always looking for guest bloggers that would post writing tips, articles and anything to do with writing. 









Friday, December 1, 2017

SEO for Authors Series: The Basics


Thanks to a suggestion from author of the Frugal Books, Carolyn Howard-Johnson (a contributor to this blog), Writers on the Move will be giving monthly tips on how authors can use SEO effectively.

SEO seems to be confusing and even a bit scary to some. But, it needn’t be. In fact, think of it as your best online friend.

This acronym stands for search engine optimization and its fundamental purpose is to get you visible and build your authority through organic strategies.

This in turn will help you build your readership and help you sell your books and/or services.

Organic means strategies that are free.

And, it's important to understand that having your site and content optimized is for the search engines, searchers (the people using keywords/phrases to search for what they want), and visitors to your site.

Before I delve into SEO, let me talk a bit about websites.

You Need a Website

Every author and writer should have their own website. If you weren’t sure about this before, you can be now.

You can’t rely on social media networks for your only online address. For instance, having a Facebook author page is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be the only place people can find you for a number of reasons.

These networks are continually changing the game. Your organic marketing reach (the other users who actually see your posts) is shrinking more and more. To get more visibility you need to pay to 'boost' your post.

The last I read, organic reach for the average Facebook Page is below 5 percent.

And, if a social network doesn’t like what you’re posting, they can remove it.

To establish a solid book marketing foundation, you need a website.

But, I’m getting off track here.

What is SEO?

SEO is kind of like a popularity contest. Certain actions by people can give your website a vote of confidence (authority). A few of these actions are:

- Liking you
- Sharing your content (blog posts)
- Clicking on your link that leads back to your website (this is considered an inbound link)
- Staying on your site for more than several seconds
- Linking back to your site from their website (this is considered a backlink)

Google considers these actions votes.

If a lot of people are giving you votes, Google will make your website and content more visible to people searching for keywords that are relevant to your site.

An Example of SEO in Practice

Writers on the Move’s basic keywords are writing tips, book marketing, and marketing.

If we’re doing a good job getting votes from people, Google will list our posts higher up on its search engine results page (SERP).

This in turn will bring even more people to our website, giving us more votes.

How it works:

I write a post on book marketing. I share that post on my social network accounts. People see the post and click on the link back to this website to read the post. The visitors find the post informative, so they share it and maybe comment.

Then Amanda comes along and wants to learn about ‘book marketing’. She puts that keyword in Google’s search box.

Google scours its millions or billions of tidbits of information and sees that Writers on the Move has an article that has gotten votes and is relevant to Amanda’s search keyword. So, Google puts the link to that article on the first SERP so Amanda can see it.

Amanda sees the title of the article and the brief description I included. She thinks it will be helpful so clicks on it.

See where this is going?

The more visibility, the more people come to your website. This in turn boosts your authority and ranking along with your chances of ‘conversion’ (turning visitors into customers or clients).

This is SEO.

Sharing and Commenting

Because of this cycle of sharing and visitors and sharing and more visitors, it’s essential to get people to share your blog posts. It’s considered another vote.

And, commenting is yet another vote as to your site’s authority.

Google pays attention to everything.

So, if you’re reading this post and find it’s helpful, PLEASE Share it. And, if time allows, please comment.

IF YOU'D LIKE TO FOLLOW THE SEO FOR AUTHORS SERIES, CHECK OUT OUR WORKSHOPS PAGE:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/p/workshops.html

.


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and ghostwriter. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

To find out more about Karen's online platform classes, visit:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/content-marketing-tools/

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos

Fiction writers who are good at what they do, enjoy what they do. They like creating something from nothing . . . well from an idea. They enjoy the craft and the process – heck, they love it!

But, with that said, there are 5 top mistakes all fiction writers need to be aware of and avoid.

1. You make the beginning of your story all roses.

While we’d all love to live in a peaceful, happy land, readers need something to sink their teeth into, especially at the beginning of the story.

The beginning of your story is the hook. It’s where you GRAB the reader and make her have to turn the page and want to know what’s going to happen to the protagonist.

Here are a couple of examples of ‘hooking’ beginnings:

“I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot. But when my teacher said, ‘Class, we have an exciting project to talk about,’ I listened away.”
“The Talented Clementine” by Sara Pennypacker.

“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.”
“Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo

These two examples of children’s writing give you a good idea of what it takes to ‘hook’ the reader.

2. The dialog is weak, fluffy.

Having weak dialog can kill your story. You need your characters to have passion . . . to have life.

You want dialog that is strong and tight. You want the emotion (the conflict, the tension, the passion) to come through the words. And, you want to say it in as few words and as realistically as possible.

You want the reader to feel what the character is feeling at that moment.

If Bob is angry in the story, show it through his dialog:

“WHAT! Who said you could take that?!”
“Hey! What are you doing?!”
“No! You can’t. Now get lost.”
“Get your hands off of me!”


The tight, strong dialog goes for exchanges also:

“Hey! What are you doing?!” Bob yelled.

Gia spun around. “Oh, uh, nothing.” Her eyes darted to the door then back to Bob.


3. The story is predictable.

You’ve got to have some surprises in the story. If you don’t, it will make for a rather dull, predictable story.

For this aspect of your story, think questions.

- Why is the character in that situation?
- How did he get there?
- What must she be feeling, seeing?
- How can she get out of it?
- What might happen next?

Try to come up with four or five options as to what might happen next.

In an article at Writer’s Digest, the author advises to “Close your eyes and watch your scene unfold. Let the characters improvise. What are some outlandish things that could result? If something looks interesting, find a way to justify it.” (1)

Let your imagination run wild.

4. Your characters are one-dimensional.

For readers to become engaged in a story, they have to develop a connection with the protagonist and other characters. In order for this to happen, the characters must be multi-dimensional.

Characters need to be believable and unique. You don’t want them to be predictable or a stereotype.

According to “Breathing Life into Your Characters” by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D., “The essential components for creating successful characters with emotional and psychological depth—feelings, passion, desires, psychology, and vision—reside within [the writer].”

So, think about it. What conditions or characteristics does your character have?

- Is he stingy?
- Does she frighten easily?
- Is he a troublemaker of bully?

- Does he listen to good advice?
- Does she get along with others?
- Does he have a disorder such as ADHD?
- Does he have phobias?
- Is she dysfunctional?

- Is he musically inclined?
- Does she have an eating disorder?
- Is she materialistic?
- Is she a risk taker, fearless?

And, keep in mind that the more stressful an ‘inciting incident’ or event, the more reaction and/or adjustment there will be.

For example: If a child lost a pet, it wouldn’t be as severe as losing a parent.
If a woman separated from her husband, it wouldn’t be as severe as having her husband suddenly die.

So, using your experiences and innate characteristics, along with research, you can create multi-faceted characters.

5. You dump information into the story.

This is more of a mistake that new writers may make. I had a client who created the entire first paragraph of her story with ‘information dump.’

Having the protagonist tell another character his entire backstory, along with other details the author wants to convey to the reader is a no-no. Backstory needs to be layered or weaved into the story, not dumped in one big truck load.

You might also use a prologue to give backstory.

While there are other things to watch for in fiction writing, these are five of the top no-nos.

Reference:
(1) 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes and Fixes

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, children’s ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move.

For more on writing, stop by Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
 Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and check out the DIY Page.

You can connect with Karen at:
Facebook
GoolgePlus 
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Monday, November 27, 2017

Creating your Main Character: Hit a Home Run

Bases to cover while creating your main character:

First Base: Make your character interesting

Give your character a flaw

A flaw, according to Webster's, is "an imperfection or weakness and esp. one that detracts from the whole or hinders effectiveness." A flaw, according to Kristen Kieffer, is a problem your character doesn't recognize that is getting in the way of a happy, productive life. In Kieffer's article, “The #1 Key to Creating a Relatable Main Character,” is a list of "REAL flaws, personality traits or characteristics that hold [your character] back from being the person they need to be in order to achieve their story goal and/or defeat the villain." To give you an idea, I have included a partial list of flaws. To find the complete list and more of Kieffer’s helpful information, please refer to the complete article.

Cowardice
Anger issues
Pride
Selfishness
Egotism
*Self-doubt

My character’s flaw in my WIP: She is riddled with self-doubt, which comes naturally to me, as an extreme lack of confidence was one of my major flaws as a youth.

Give your character a quirk

What characters come to mind because of their quirks? Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit is curious and mischievous, which gets him into trouble; A.A. Milne created a ravenous hunger for honey in her character, Winnie-the-Pooh, who couldn't fit through the rabbit hole.

What is the difference between a character flaw and a quirk?

Webster's defines a quirk as "a peculiar trait: an idiosyncrasy.” Two examples, in a nutshell: Batman is self-taught, and has made himself "the most brilliant and capable man he can be, and he uses gadgets and tools to appear otherworldly to his enemies." (1)

Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes: has extreme powers of observation; the power to detach his mind; and he keeps secrets.

Flaws and quirks help make your character interesting. Watch out for a too perfect character: Readers can't identify with your character if she is too perfect. Sure, she has challenges, but if they're overcome too easily, your reader will be bored.

Second Base: Give your character a worthy goal

In another Kristen Kieffer article, “How to Craft a Killer Character Goal for your Hero,” Kieffer makes a distinction between your character’s ambition, or what she desires, “something they believe will quell the dissatisfaction they feel in their lives,” which is what, evidently, many authors believe is enough of a goal; with “a specific and actionable goal that will lead your character into your story’s juicy conflict.” This article walks you through the process of “taking your character’s ambition and turning it into a powerful story goal,” and even says it’s simple!

Kieffer offers a list of key questions you can ask yourself to help define your character’s goals. Here are two:

1. How is my character dissatisfied with their life?
2. What does my character believe will bring them true happiness or contentment?

A second list is helpful in nailing down your character’s goal. Here is what I came up with for my character, using Kieffer’s list as a model:

1. She wants to go home to city life, is tired of the country.
2. She’s stuck in the country due to car trouble and needs to figure out a way to leave.
3. Here her goal changes: She realizes she can’t leave until the car is fixed, has been asked to help someone in trouble at the inn where she’s staying, and doesn’t want to leave until she solves the problem.
4. She does everything she can to solve the problem.
5. She solves the problem and is ready to go home.

If you are struggling with these issues, I recommend these two articles. Kieffer has helped me identify weaknesses in my story and has given me a way to strengthen those weaknesses.

Third Base: Give your character a special love interest

An analysis of your favorite stories can reveal elements you want to include in your own stories. Personal favorites are mysteries, thrillers, and adventure stories. For me, the story falls flat if there isn’t love of a dog, a horse, a romance, or my favorite: love between two friends.

Cover your bases with these tips and you will be well on your way to hitting a home run in creating your main character. Hit the ball out of the park and you can do it again and again in many new ballgames.

References:

(1) http://fandomania.com/100-greatest-fictional-characters-1-batman/ 
http://www.sherlockholmes-fan.com/sherlock-holmes-biography.html

Image courtesy of : http://clipartix.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Baseball-clip-art-free-clipart-clipartcow.gif




Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tips for Building Your Community


Writing is a solitary occupation, hence we must find our community. It has been quite a journey to find where I fit, with the common ups and downs. I do know now where I fit and can settle into my writing practice and getting my work “out there”.

I am reading Jordan Rosenfeld’s A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, and in Chapter 2, Create a Practice she presents our need to develop our creative support team. Identify your one Champion who is a non-writer, your comrade writers, your trusted mentor, and your critique partner(s). Excellent! I appreciate her step-by-step breakdowns. Do check it out!

Gabriela Pereira is big on community as you will note in Chapters 21-27 of her diyMFA book and website (see link). She uses a learning-based approach focused on the big picture—what you need and why you build connections.
Building your community by Gabriela Pereira
https://diymfa.com/category/community
https://diymfa.com/

I’ve searched for a writing mentor for a few years. The ones I wanted to work with, because I love their books, turned out to be way too busy to mentor anyone. Another author I searched out as a possibility was busy working a publishing deadline—however, her website is so full of mentoring posts, well organized by subject, that I downloaded them and created a notebook for my study.

Then a friend of mine posted a link to a podcast for Mastermind Groups. After several discussion, we started our own mastermind group that is now two months old, has grown to four members and is building momentum. A mastermind group has a super networking strategy with six or seven members that are compatible but not the same. Listen to the podcast and see if it might work for you.
Mastermind Groups, Community of Writers - give you an edge
http://www.novelmarketing.com/101/  (Podcast and transcript notes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUXdq_KRiA4 (YouTube presentation 7Min)

We need readers and feedback for our work. I’ve been burned by a critiquing instructor but thankfully, after a “pause”, I didn’t give up. I eventually found a good environment for reading, and critique feedback. In addition, I found a group online that you might be interested in checking out. It is free to join and get acquainted. It is:
Critique Group Online Community 

https://www.critiquecircle.com/Default.asp
Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer, artist, and editor.  She is a retired project manager who now devotes her time to writing, art and caregiving mentally impaired seniors.  Deborah writes articles, essays and stories. She has published a collection of 24 artists’ interviews entitled the Artists Interview Series.  Careful editing preserves each artist’s voice as they share their journey. The series published as monthly articles for an online news network, can also be found on her web-blog: Deborah Lyn Stanley : My Writer's Life .  Her “How-To” articles have appeared in magazines.
“Write your best, in your voice, your way!”


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Throughout the Year Thankfulness and Gratitude


By W. Terry Whalin

During this season, we find many articles about thankfulness and gratitude. From my many years in publishing, I contend writers need gratitude or thankfulness throughout the year and not just around Thanksgiving.

The world of writing is full of challenges. You craft a query letter or book proposal and fire it off to a editor who has asked for it—and then you hear nothing. You wonder if they got it or if they hated it or what happened? Then you get a letter from a reader complaining about the typos in your most recent book. Or your phone seems to be acting strange.

Let’s face it: every writer faces problems and things they that don't work—for many different reasons. In the midst of these situations there is one constant that the writer can control: your attitude. Do you lean into the challenges and work on something different? Or do you face the day with gratitude and thankfulness?

I’ve not always been a proponent of gratitude and looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty. In fact, I’ve been working on my attitude and trying to center on gratitude every day.

A couple of months ago, Darren Hardy challenged listeners to his Darren Daily program that there were only 90 days until Thanksgiving. He suggested we keep a Thankful Journal about a friend or spouse. He asked us to write in that journal every day until Thanksgiving and then give it to the person on the holiday.

I’m not much of a journal keeper. I know many writers who journal but I never developed this habit. At the encouragement of Darren Hardy, I tried this Thanks Journal and have been faithfully writing in it every day. The results have been fascinating to me. Every day I’ve focused on gratitude and something I appreciate then wrote into this journal. If nothing else, it has spun my thoughts and attitude in the direction of gratitude. In a few days, I’m going to this journal to the person in few days. I plan to continue this pattern with a gratitude journal because I’ve found this process has been a significant help to my gratitude attitude.

Within the publishing world, there is much outside of the writer’s control. The one area you can control is your attitude. If you are grateful and thankful, that attitude will shine through to others. You will become someone who is attractive to others rather than someone always grumbling about this or that.

From my years in publishing, I’ve seen how the grumbler and complainers are perceived. The editors and agents may smile, treat you kindly and answer your complaints, but behind the scenes they are talking with their colleagues about how these complaints simply spread the poison to others. When these writers do not get encouraged to do another book, they wonder why. I would contend it comes down to attitude. Is your attitude attractive to others or repelling? If you are grumbling and repelling, then I encourage you to turn to gratitude and thankfulness and let it carry you all year long—not just on one day called Thanksgiving.

Let me know the steps you are taking for this attitude of thankfulness in the comments below.

Tweetable:


Writers need gratitude all year long. Read this article to learn the reasons.  (ClickToTweet)
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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing (and his work contact info is at the bottom of the second page). He has written more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell and Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Terry has written for more than 50 magazines and lives in Colorado.  He has over 200,000 twitter followers.
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Monday, November 20, 2017

SCBWI Book Critique Boutique

I've got exciting news.

On December 10th, I'll be at Touro College in Bayshore, Long Island selling books and giving 10 minute critiques for ONLY $10.



The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is having it's first ever (as far as I know) Book Critique Boutique!
(If this has been done before by SCBWI, please let me know in the comments!)

If you're in the area, stop on by. I look forward to seeing you!


Karen

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