The Critique Process and Mentors

Everybody has a critique story; here’s some of ours.

You work and you work – and when your manuscript is ready, you let people see it – and…

they crush you.

Or do they?

Great critique partners like mine – Jenny and Allison among them – are vital for creating a great story.

You can see ALL the segments on our Writers Off Task With Friends YouTube channel.

Subscribe to the show’s channel, and as soon as new segments post, you will get a notice!

Then you can watch them or download them as MP4’s into your iPod and listen while you drive, shop, or wash your car.

And if you’d like to come on Writers Off Task With Friends and share some wisdom you’ve gained from your writing experiences, use the Contact Me button to let me know!

Grab your reader’s ATTENTION

Hooking your reader and keeping them is vital. Learn how to do it.

Dan, Allison and Jenny talk about how to write grabber a opening that hooks readers, with Aften Brook Szymanski (Killer Potential)

 

 

You can see ALL the segments on our Writers Off Task With Friends YouTube channel.

Subscribe to the show’s channel, and as soon as new shows post, you will get a notice!

Then you can watch them or download them as MP4’s into your iPod and listen while you drive, shop, or paint your garage.

And if you’d like to come on Writers Off Task With Friends and share some wisdom you’ve gained from your writing experiences, use the Contact Me button to let me know!

5 Ways to Maintain an Interactive Blog and Create a Fan Base!

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your humble host

A fantastic blog I’ve been reading and enjoying is Rashmi Menon’s Mind And Life Matters and her Beyond Coffee And Words , (coffee is written with Piyusha Vir). Both sites are brilliant and uplifting places to go and spend time.

I recently asked Rashmi to pen a guest blog post (do we “pen” things anymore? “Clicked and clacked the keyboard” has much less of an artistic ring to it) and she graciously obliged. Since her blog is so engaging and personal, I asked her to train her keen eyes on that aspect of her work, and here it is. 

All authors are told to have a platform, and a blog can be an important part of that. If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Rashmi shows you how.

Enjoy.

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Rashmi Menon

You have read the manuals and by now you already know that as a serious writer/author, it is imperative that you create a blog and start building a relationship with your readers to increase your followers and to maintain readership.

You say,

“OK, I get it! All I need to do is create a blog, do my favorite activity of writing and get people to read it, right? Wait, did you also say interacting with the readers and creating a fan base?”

So you publish blog posts on your website, your followers read them and comment on them and you respond to those comments. There, that’s interaction, isn’t it?

But, is that enough? Would merely responding to comments on your blog posts be enough interaction to maintain a readership for your blogs and create a fan base for your books?

The simple answer here is –

No, that is not enough!

Then, what is it that you can do improve the interaction and maintain the readership? Well, that is the question this post is going to answer.

  1. Care for your Readers

When you receive a comment on your blog, don’t just leave a casual thank you. Instead, respond to the comment with something of more value, then check out the commenter’s blog. Give some advice, compliment the commenter, or ask a question. Make sure they know you value them.

And if you receive an email from a reader, don’t be in a hurry to respond to the question in their email or plainly acknowledge the email. See it as an opportunity to start a conversation. See it as your chance to turn a reader into a raving fan.

This way your readers know that you truly care for their comments/inputs and will return the attention by coming back to your blog.

 

  1. It’s a Two-way Relationship

It’s very easy to think of blogging as a one-way traffic. You write a post, publish it on your blog and you expect people to read them and be interested in it! Well, here’s the thing, your blog should not be a place for you to brag about your successes and your credentials. Readers, most probably, already know that about you, which is why they decided to follow your blog. So, obviously, they don’t want to read the same thing again and again.

Readers, most likely want to know about the inner details of that journey while you were en route to the success you achieved. They want to know what they can take away and inject into their own lives by reading that post you wrote and apply the mantra into their own journey. In short, give them something to read where they feel it is going to be of interest and importance to them!

 

  1. Inspire and Be Inspired

Be as honest as you can be when writing a post for your blog, if possible make it personal.

Readers tend to trust you and be inspired by you when they see that you are being more personal. It makes them want to open up and reach out to you.

Empathize with your readers, try to understand their views if they disagree with you. Maybe you can even find inspiration from their comments.

 

  1. Write Conversationally

Blogging is almost as if you are having a conversation with your friends

so in order to engage your readers you need to write your posts as though you are talking to an imaginary person sitting in front of you.

Most often than not, writers tend to focus on the nuances of writing thereby stripping off the personal feel from their posts and end up sounding robotic. It is absolutely fine to use everyday words, writing short sentences or even starting your sentences with ‘And, But, Because’ once in a while.

Blogging isn’t like essay writing.

Let your personality shine through.

Add distinctive phrases. Include a few quirky words. Use phrases that only you would use.

Yes, you may argue that you are a Writer and your followers expect good writing from you. No, I am not asking you to compromise on the quality of your writing. I am simply saying that it is OK to use simple words and sentences in your blog posts. That helps your readers feel connected to you as a person, which in turn turns them into a dedicated follower/reader.

 

  1. Create Engaging Content

Last but definitely not the least, none of the above methods will work for you if you do not take the time and effort to create engaging content. Create the kind of content that your readers want to read about. If you have an author blog, most likely, your readers want to know about your writing techniques, your books, updates on your current WIP so on and so forth.

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Rashmi

You can always make your content more interesting by including videos, images, audio and social media into your blog posts. The more creativity you bring into your posts, the more readers want to come back to your blog!

In retrospect, your blog is the backbone to your online presence, but your readers are the ones who ensures the need for your presence. That is why continuous interaction with your readers is important to maintaining your readership and creating that fan base.

Do you know of more ways you can increase user interaction on your website? Include them in the comments below.

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Awesome tips, right? Isn’t she the best?

Thanks to Rashmi for taking the time to do this for us. Be sure to check out her blog. You’ll be glad you did.

And check out my latest novel, The Navigators. Click HERE to get your copy; FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

BRILLIANT FLASHDan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

 

I told you I was running some sales on my books – here’s another one! Savvy Stories is IN the Kindle Countdown RIGHT NOW!

My first ever book, about the sweet evolution of ME from non-dad to dad, and all the hilarious stuff I learned along the way. Hard to believe it was six years ago.

The Kindle Countdown is underway. Don’t miss out on the savings.

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Savvy Stories is the first in the 3-part series. Click HERE to get it as part of my Kindle Countdown, and check my Amazon site often for other deals throughout August and September. Follow me on Amazon and you won’t miss out!

 

ALSO

Yes, you’re getting bombarded with posts this week. That’s gonna stop as soon as the new computer is up and running. I scheduled them all i advance just in case.

New computer expected soon, not to worry.

The Savvy Stories blurb:

This hilarious and heartwarming story of a new dad learning what it means to be a father will have you falling in love with your children all over again.

Bestselling author and humorist Dan Alatorre brings us into his living room for funny and delightful stories about the real meaning of fatherhood and parenting. “Savvy” is the nickname of his newborn daughter, and “Savvy Stories” is a fun filled romp through the early years of having a baby. These stories will have you laughing out loud as she takes over the house – and their hearts! Equal parts funny and touching, Savvy Stories shows you why all kids are special. After all, “the beauty of children is in the magic they see everywhere; the beauty of parenthood is seeing it with them.” Not a bumbling TV sitcom stooge, the dad in this book is a smart, kind, loving man who is constantly amazed at his daughter, something every dad should be.

You will laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page, and you will see yourself 100 times over in this book. Savvy Stories has been acclaimed as required reading for parents, for its hilarious and heartwarming insights. Its lessons are deep and apply to every family, everywhere, because what makes Savvy special is what makes all children special. We just have to look.

“5 STARS! A MUST READ!
“5 stars, Excellent book! “Savvy Stories” should be on everyone’s “must read” list.”
Susan B., Columbus, Ohio

Enjoy this look at childhood’s lost, magical moments, viewed through the heart of a father. Crawling, walking, play dates, hopscotch, hibiscuses, potty training, princess dresses, gymnastics classes… and Baby Dolphins – The whole wide world of her questions and his answers. This book will have you falling in love with your children all over again.

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Soul Mates Update – time to start. Again.

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This is an idea for the cover. Cool, huh?

If you got an email last night (check your spam folder) you know we are finally ready to start the Soul Mates story. Probably.

There were a few false starts and a vacation AND a computer crash, among other things. School started. There may have been a flood. Famine. Locusts…

Soul Mates

is the working title for a collective story writing effort we are undertaking. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN WRITING A SHORT STORY TO BE INCLUDED IN THE BOOK, please contact me asap. The story segments are going to be assigned this week (see the “Fat Outline” HERE for the story segments), and we just need to know who is writing what so there’s no overlap. The plan is, ALL writers will be named on the book cover and listed with a searchable Amazon credit for this book.

If you want to edit, proofread, cheer from the sidelines, those efforts will be needed and greatly appreciated. Anyone who helps in editing will be listed, as well as proofreaders and beta readers, on a searchable Amazon credit in the book, wherever possible.

What’s a searchable Amazon credit?

That means people put your name into the Amazon search feature and it pops up under this book.

You can get the “Fat Outline” HERE – that’s an overview of the story and contains one main story with many small short stories inside. You can write one of the short stories and be named on the cover as a co-author. See?

Here’s some more info that will help you. Also, you can search for Soul mates in the search button, top right. That’s what I do.

Anyway, get ready.

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your humble host

You can all help, but it’s time for the writers to step up!

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

 

What’s All This VIDEO Nonsense About (And How Can I Do Some?)

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your humble host
On occasion I get letters from readers (or I just make one up) asking for writing advice, needing suggestions about their work, requests for money…

I’m happy to answer these fans, and since what they want to know is usually something others might need to know, I share the letters here. (Names withheld to protect the innocent.)

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Dear Dan,

What kinds of software do you use for your video blogs (a.k.a Writers Off Task With Friends)?

Signed, 

Budding Vlogger

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Dear Vlog,

Great question!

Check out Google Hangouts On Air. It’s simple and free, and up to ten people can be on at one time (although three is kind of the safe limit for audio quality, it seems.)

You start the video call, then you can record it, then when it’s ended it automatically posts to YouTube. Doesn’t get much easier than that. Then you can edit it from there, right on the YouTube site.
All for free.
I highly recommend it mainly because it’s free. If you have a good camera on your computer (high def is better), sit in a place with ample light, and have decent internet speed, you’ll get a great image and a great recording.
Editing is like anything else, it takes some getting used to, but it’s hard to beat free…
When we started the show Writers Off Task With Friends we didn’t really know what we wanted to do as far as videos, but we did know we wanted authors to have a place to come and share ideas and laugh. We did that, although I suppose the comparisons to Fun With Flags was inevitable. For me, the show is a way to help authors get word out about their work, not so much from our site (although we do have our fan) but using the video as a way to post themselves on Facebook and Twitter and their blog, etc., to get a different aspect of themselves out there and showcase their unique personalities in ways written interviews can’t.
It’s been a ton of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone. After a few shows, you’ll feel very at home. Probably.
Thanks,
Dan

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Subscribers get to watch all new shows immediately, they don’t have to wait for me to air them here.