Writers Off Task With Friends Episode 10: Social Media And Scrapbooking

Can you believe we’ve already done TEN shows and YOU haven’t been on yet? What’s up with that?

 

Check us out! We talk about our Favorite Social Media, How scrapbooking helps you design ads, and What sends you the author off the rails when you are writing?

If you have a question you’d like us to discuss, send it to me using the Contact me button!

If you’d like to appear on WOTWF, let me know! Send me a message and let’s connect. All you need is a sense of humor and… that’s about it. Maybe something writing-oriented to discuss, like a book or blog.

The goal is to educate and have fun. You can do that. Probably. And if you can’t, I can. PLUS, as host it’s my job to make guests look good, so no worries!

Ten shows. If it wasn’t for the infinite patience of my two lovely and talented co-hosts, we’d have never made it. Thank you, Jenny and Allison!

Wanna see more? Subscribe to the Writers Off Task With Friends YouTube channel and never miss an episode! You’ll get an email update every week when we post a new show!

Flash Fiction Challenge – Should I Host A Writing Contest?

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Me, potential writing contest host

I have a few friends who enter writing contests (for examples, click HERE and HERE.) I have other friends who enter contests, too, but if you co-host a video show with me, like Jenny and Allison do, I tend to mention ones you did.

I think I may have entered a contest before, I don’t really know. I do know I entered something… and started a fight… and blew up my Twitter account – but that was different. I blew it up over a freaking Sea World pic I posted, too – of my kid with a dolphin. Twitter. Sheesh.

Anyway, I was thinking…

a real writing contest might be fun.

Also, my friends win money at these things. I think second place was like $25, so maybe first place was $50. Probably third place was, I don’t know – ten bucks?

That’s about $85.

I have that.

And they paid to enter the contest. So if I charged $5 and got, what, 17 people to enter, I could give out prizes and break even. (Or charge ten bucks and get fewer people, or give the leftover money to charity.) That’s not bad, for a $50 prize.

Oh, and it’d be a legit contest. I’d pick a topics and give you a week or two to write an essay showcasing your amazing writing skills. The submissions would actually get read. We do that anyway, with our Flash Fiction Challenges – so why not? The topics would vary. Paranormal one time, Romance the next.

Then you get to say you won the such and such award.

Hmm… we’d need a name. Something cool, too, not “The Dan Award” – although that does have a ring to it.

What else?

A logo? Probably. Maybe Rachael Ritchie can come up with something. But everyone’s invited to make suggestions.

So we need a logo and a name. What about The Sunshine Independent Authors Award For Fine Writing?

That’s… a little long.

The Sunshine Independent Author Award?

We would invite everybody, not just indies… but that could still work.

Okay, so we gotta work on all that.

Here’s where you come in.

  1. Do we do this at all? (You can say No. I can go right back to being lazy.)
  2. We need a name for the award. List you suggestions and LIKE whichever ones you think are best. You can suggest as many as you want.
  3. We need a logo. Artsy folks, feel free to send me something; non-artsy folks, this may not be your game, but tell us what you have in mind.
  4. What should the fee be? I’ll pay out 100% of whatever we take in, so if we make $100 we’ll give it all away. Should we give it to a charity, too? When you entered a contest, where did the money go? I’m not sure a charity getting involved helps. Who’d want to be associated with me anyway? I tend to speak off the cuff and embarrass folks. Charities tend to not like that stuff.
  5. JUDGES. Ha, you though this as gonna be easy, huh? Well I’d like at least 2 other people to sit in and read submissions if we get more than ten. Each of us can read 1/3, select our best ones, and the panel will decide the winner based on an elaborate point system or something. Probably I’ll be able to read them all, but just in case, let me know if you’d like to judge. That doesn’t mean you can’t submit, by the way. You won’t judge your own essay, though. No sneaky stuff.

Okay, that’s it. Once we decide a name and stuff, we’ll decide when to have this soiree and get it rolling! Maybe we’d have one a month, or one every three months, who knows?

Give me your thoughts on all this!

 

20 Questions (kinda sorta) With Author Joleene Naylor

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Your humble host

It’s kinda sorta because it’s only 14 questions, but I think 20 Questions With So And So sounds better than 14 Questions With So And So.

Actually, now that I’ve written that out, it doesn’t.

But I’m not changing it.

Joleene is a friend of the blog and a very creative person – as you’ll see.

You’re gonna enjoy this interview.

Probably

 

And now… 14 Questions With Joleene Naylor (See? 20 does sound better.)

 

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Author Joleene Naylor

1.What is the working title of your next book?

Masque of the Vampire. It’s the eighth book in the paranormal Amaranthine series about…wait for it…vampires. Feel free to roll your eyes and go “Oh” now. That’s fine. Vampires aren’t for everyone, though I get tired of hearing “you joined the teen bandwagon” because my vampires are not for teens – and I’ve been writing them since before it was “cool”. I’m like the hipster of vampire writing without the glasses or infinity scarf. (Though I need glasses)

2.What makes you so damn interesting anyway?

Didn’t you see my hipster comment? No? Okay, truth is: Not a thing. I’m a pretty boring DIY-hide-in-the-house-with-my-cats-and-write-kinda-gal. Who watches anime. And collects Barbies. And likes rain better than sunlight. And used to speak a bit of Elvish. And at one time knew all the canon spells in the Harry Potter universe. Who is also afraid of monsters. And tornadoes. And drowning. And actually likes living in the middle-of-nowhere-Iowa with a sealed door to the underworld in her basement. Yep. Pretty boring.

  1. In a story we are often asked to create images for the reader that we may not have experienced ourselves. When have you had to do that?

Never. All the vampire stuff… I mean, wait. Vampires. Of course I had to make all of that up. Heh-heh. I’ve never seen a vampire. I know nothing. I said nothing. You saw nothing. Blah, blah, blah!

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  1. How much structure is in your story before you start writing it?

Pretty much none. I’m staring down the barrel of the ninth book – which may be the last in the series – and all I have is a list of things I need to wrap up. How that will happen is anybody’s guess.

5.How do you develop characters?

Jolene Naylor 8I don’t. They develop themselves. I just write what they tell me to. They’re a bossy bunch.

6.What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

I can’t swim. Readers would never guess it because it never comes up, but I can’t do it, and I’m happy that way. I’ve never felt my life was in any way limited by the lack of swimming. I also can’t roller skate, if you want to know.

7.What’s your favorite food?

Spaghetti. And hash browns. And when I feel like a splurge I like both in the same meal.

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But not in the same bowl, I hope!

8.What’s the oddest or most awkward or embarrassing research you’ve had to do?

I once asked a cop if blood would stain a bathtub…

– I was concerned about whether there would be a ring after a character committed suicide and sort of stewed in it for a bit. The cop looked at me oddly, then said that if it was a new tub, no, but if it was an old tub with chipped porcelain it might. Luckily for my characters it was a new tub.

9.How has your experience with editors been (you can name names if you liked you editor)?

I have an awesome set of editors and beta readers that I’ve slowly assembled over the years. Sharon Stogner of Devil in the Details Editing gets a special shout out for her awesomeness. Not to say the rest aren’t awesome, but she’s the one with the cool website business. She always finds little pot holes that I need to fill up. I can’t recommend her enough.

10.Which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?

Edit sober. I’ve read too many books that were edited drunk and they’re terrible. Okay, I don’t know if they were really edited drunk, but with typos, missing words, repetitive sentences and plot holes, they sure seemed like it. This is why I stress editing so much.

11.Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

There are so many I’d have to throw a party. Some of the guests would be DM Yates, Tricia Drammeh, Maegan Provan, Barbara Tarn, LC Cooper, CG Coppola, Rodney Johnson, Matthew Rattsifer, and Steve Evans. And I can’t forget Sharon Stogner. She gets a HUGE drink, with an umbrella and a zombie sheep on the side.

12.Why do some authors sell well and others don’t? (Indie or otherwise, but indie if possible)

Jolene Naylor 6.jpgI think it’s mostly luck. I’d say some skill is involved, but then we have Fifty Shades of Gray to ruin that assumption, so it lands it on luck and advertising dollars. If you can get a million people to read your book, even if half don’t like it, BOOM! You’re a mega best seller with a massive following because half a million readers is still huge. Not to say some best sellers don’t deserve it, because they do, just as many who deserve it never make it (see that list of authors I’d invite to my party!)

13.Who or what helped you the most getting started?

Two friends. One encouraged me to finish the book(s) and did massive, massive, massive amounts of editing to make it readable, and the other convinced me to go ahead and publish it. He even set up the manuscript in book form and made a sample webpage and worked on the back cover copy. To this day I use his copyright page and the basic layout template for the paperback versions.

14.What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That we make money. Okay, I should change that to “enough money to do more than buy a cheeseburger”. Especially if we spend any money on promotions or the book itself (editing, formatting, etc.) Sure, there are a few making it big, but 90% of us don’t, so if you’re thinking of writing to get rich – don’t bother. Write for the love of sharing your story, or for the enjoyment of your readers, and forget dreams of millions.

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Here are a bazillion links:

author blog: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks

twitter http://twitter.com/joleene_naylor

website- http://JoleeneNaylor.com

good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3165393.Joleene_Naylor

facebook profile – http://facebook.com/joleene.naylor

wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/joleenenaylor

linked in- http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=59120545

pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/joleenenaylor/boards/

google + – https://plus.google.com/102925915756209535618/posts

joleene@joleenenaylor.com

 

20 Questions (almost) With Author D. M. Miller

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Your humble host

From time to time we feature other authors here on the blog besides me.

Today and tomorrow I’m featuring two friends (DM Miller today, Jolene Naylor tomorrow), who are both interesting and who both OUGHT to come on the video show (no pressure) but who also both shed some light on authoring from their own unique perspectives.

Here’s 20 Questions (almost) with my friend D M Miller. Enjoy.

  1. What is the working title of your next book?
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Author D. M. Miller

While I was writing it, the Word doc was called, “Catherine2.” So original, right? But the real title has become, Agony of the Heart.

  1. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s the sequel to my first novel, and it just sort of came to me as the next stage in these people’s lives. The thing is, I needed a message. The first book has a message, and this one needed one too. That was something I had to think about, but once it came to me, I had a goal to work toward.

  1. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

If I told you that, I’d have to kill you! 😉 Actually, there are actors in my head, but if I were to reveal who they are, it would ruin everything. When people read books, they create their own pictures in their heads, and I would never want to spoil each reader’s personal take on my books.

  1. What makes you so damn interesting anyway?

Because I write about things others don’t, and I am not afraid to tackle controversial issues. I go where others don’t dare because political correctness doesn’t scare me away. 😉

  1. Why do some authors sell well and others don’t? (Indie or otherwise, but indie if possible)

There are so many variables in this. Much of it has to do with marketing. Authors are not born publicists, nor do we have the money to pour into it. To be honest, I’ve read books that are absolutely terrible yet sell well because the author knows how to market. On the other hand, there are excellent books that just need that big break. If the right person were to read it…

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

DM Miller author 2I’ve always written about love, from the time I was 12 and writing poetry. As for the Middle East, my late father was Jewish, and I have always been drawn to that side of myself, with a deep spiritual connection to Israel. Jews and Arabs, specifically Egyptians and Palestinians, terrorism and the various wars, were topics we’d discussed throughout my childhood.

  1. Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

You know, I would have said no in years past, but now you can! They’ve made a new product that looks kind of like a dryer sheet. You can throw that in the washer and put all your clothes together! J

  1. What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

DM Miller author 4.jpgThird person, but I like to switch up the point of view. A fellow author was yelling at me about it because in my first book I change the point of view from him to her to ubiquitous narrator, but the truth is, I did it on purpose. It was no accident. It may not follow the rules, but I don’t care.

  1. What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That we can’t write, that if we could write, we would have a publishing contract. Not all indie authors can write well, but there are many who can write better than those who do have contracts. Frankly, I haven’t even attempted to get a contract with these two novels.

  1. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?

Set out a daily plan, and print out a chart that you have to fill out every day once you complete your writing for the day. On the chart, write what the goal is, and make that goal a reasonable one. For me, it varied, but I finally settled on 1500 words. If I surpassed it, great, but I had to at least meet the minimum. Give yourself at least one day off because you’re only human, and you need to get away from that computer for a while.

  1. What’s your favorite food?

Anything fattening. Pasta, cheese and bread, and if you put them altogether, even better! Maintaining my weight is a constant battle, and as a matter of fact, food and weight play an important role in my new book. Catherine struggles with expectations, and it becomes overwhelming for her.

  1. What’s one thing that sent you completely off the rails when you were writing?

I made the mistake of letting my husband start reading the beginning right after I had written it, and he told me I should write more on the supporting characters. But that wasn’t part of my plan, and I couldn’t figure out how on earth to fit that in! My plan was already set, and these were secondary characters after all. I stopped writing for months because I was stumped. Then I decided to forget what he said and follow my original plan.

  1. What is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?

Emotion. I need it, like a drug. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s reading a romance with no emotion.

  1. Best book to movie you’ve seen?

None. It doesn’t exist, which is why I can’t reveal who the actors are in my head. People create their own images, and the actors never match.

  1. What are your three favorite books by other authors?

DM Miller author 1Come on now! That’s impossible. Only three?? Well, some recent books I couldn’t put down are: The Settler by Orit Arfa, The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan, and a story called “The Jewish Neighbor,” which is part of a collection in Paper Cut Hearts by A.M. Khalifa.

As for influences, there are so many that have shaped my writing and my thinking along the way, like The Sun Also Rises, Night by Ellie Wiesel, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Merchant of Venice (for various reasons), Semites & Anti-Semites by the great Bernard Lewis, The Book of Esther, loads of poetry, etc., etc.

  1. Do you hate cats?

Ha, ha! Well… no comment. 😉 Ok, ok. Let’s put it this way: I’m a dog person, but I love cat people too. Cats, on the other hand, are a different story.

  1. What was the most fun interview you’ve done and why?

Why it would have to be this one of course! You’re just too charming, I guess. J

  1. I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

That’s right! My new book just came out! My second published novel, it’s the sequel to The Religion of the Heart, an interfaith romance between a Muslim and a Jew. This one, Agony of the Heart, continues the journey of the same characters, Abdul and Catherine, but with new issues to face. There are claims of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, but the biggest hurdle for them both is one I cannot reveal. The reader discovers it as the problem worsens throughout the book and explodes at the end.

 

The Religion of the Heart: http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Heart-D-M-Miller/dp/1514892901/

Agony of the Heart: http://www.amazon.com/Agony-Heart-D-M-Miller-ebook/dp/B01DFEA160/

DM Miller Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/D.-M.-Miller/e/B012RDNV76/

 

 

Social Media For Authors, part 2

Last week, I talked a little about social media (HERE), and in the comments/replies, I mentioned

how I drive crazy amounts of traffic to my blog using my secret method on Twitter.

It’s not really a secret. If you follow me on Twitter (my handle is Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

@savvystories) you’d see me do it. Which is what I said last week.

But me being the guy I am, I also explained that knowing WHAT to do is maybe half the battle. You need a strategy. You need a plan. You need to know that a strategy and a plan are the same thing, probably. And you need to execute the plan – as in, you have to do it.

So, what do I do?

I go to the bottom of a blog post and click the Twitter button to post it to Twitter.

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But instead of tweeting it, I copy the information – and not all of it, because I don’t need to waste characters pubbing WP, but just the part I need. Tweeting the WP link takes people right to the blog.

So far so good.

Then I add an author-ey type poster, or postcard, or picture, to catch people’s eyes. A meme, if I have one.

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Like this one.

Then I write a few words that might be interesting (I hope) and stick them in the poster tweet, ahead of the info for the WP link. Like for that Hemingway quote, above, I might write “100% agree!” or say something snarky, but usually inspiring messages get the most retweets. So for this one I usually say what I’m working on. “Today the nail says edit!” Not super inspiring, but you get the idea.

Oh, and I just happen to have a LOT of these images stored away, so I can bang ’em out fast.

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Somebody has too much free time…

And HOW did I collect all those cool authorey images? Hey, I grab ’em whenever I see one I like. Facebook, Twitter, blogs – wherever. Right click and save, ready to go when I need one. Or I Google a famous author and  to see what kind of writing quotes they’ve given, then click “images” and save them that way. Most well-known authors have said something interesting, so I Google authors I like or quotes I know.

The initial time investment to assemble a large author-oriented image collection was about an hour. Did it on a Sunday morning a while ago. Now I just add or replace an image whenever I see one I like. That takes a few seconds a few times a week. Easy peasy.

Now, coming up with a witty line to add onto it? Hey, that takes skill. Probably. It’s kinda like pancakes. The first few don’t really click, and sometimes NONE of them click, but usually after about five tweets I find the groove and get funny with it.

Usually.

Then I blast out ten or twenty of thirty tweets with this stuff, whatever I feel like doing. In a row, back to back. It’s better if I spread them out over the day but I’m human and I forget, but if it’s an important blog piece and I want good exposure I can usually pop in at breakfast, lunch and midday to send a few supplemental tweets.

 

Yep, that’s a lot.

Takes about 15 minutes.

Oh, and don’t forget to interact a little – as in, be social on social media – and if a few folks RT you, click over and say thanks. Stuff like that.

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RTs drive your traffic to followers’ sites, where their friends and followers see it. Your traffic booms, so interact.

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Maybe you’ll make a friend or gain a follower.

Now, I’m writing this a little in advance, so I hope to grab a screen shot of my stats and stick it HERE

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Hmm. What happened THAT day on my Twitter account, I wonder? It’s twitterpated, that’s what!
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Nice jump in blog traffic

 

so we can see what a difference tweeting about your blog makes. I’ve done these examples before, showing how #1LineWeds (or other hashtags – click HERE, HERE and HERE for more on that and a list of helpful hashtags, too) can boost the hell out of your traffic. There are other ways. Experiment and have fun. Ask friends what they do. Share ideas here in the comments section, then see which appeal to you.

There are no wrong answers

but if you try a few things, odds are you’ll find one you connect with and enjoy – further enhancing your blog traffic and author platform.

This is one of the things I do. What do YOU do to boost YOUR blog traffic?

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Your humble host.

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.