Friday, August 30, 2013

Join Me on the Internet Express

Are you ready? Grab your mouse, and let's go!

1.  Ane Mulligan, at Seriously Write, discusses the importance of character motivation and how it is the basis of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

2. Need a laugh? Funny author and dear friend, Jeanette Levellie, talks about how much she hates meetings.

3.  Janette Dolores talks about the stress Moms face as a new school year begins and how she keeps worry from taking over her life.

Writers and Readers: I've given you some links here. Do you have any favorite blogs you think I should visit? Please share.

Photo Credit:  wagg66

Monday, August 26, 2013

How Far Can You Reach?

As a new author, I've learned a few interesting things about Social Media. I'm going to focus mainly on Facebook here, but it applies to all the favorite sites.

1.  I have 2,600 Friends on Facebook, but only a fraction of them see my news feed.

2.  Author Pages on Facebook detail how many people see my posts.

3.  When The Moses Conspiracy launched, I had posts everywhere: on my blog, all my social media venues, a blog tour, etc. I announced it in a monthly email newsletter. Still, people I consider closely connected said, "I didn't know you got a contract."

How can we maximize our reach? I've both observed and experienced several ways that work:

1.  Those share buttons? Use them! They keep posts on the news feed, so more people have an opportunity to see them. Any of my posts that have gone viral were shared multiple times by others.

2.  Join specialized Facebook pages, set up author pages where available, and check notifications for author invitations to "Like" their pages. They'll usually be happy to return the favor.

3.  The best thing we can do is to care about people and apply the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Writers:  What are some of the ways you maximize your reach?

Readers:  What are some of the ways you find new book releases? Do you tell others about the books you enjoy?

Photo Credit:  penywise

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some Traveling Music, Please!

I'm once again surfing the Net for interesting tidbits. There's no lack of inspiration out there, so I'm passing on what I've discovered.

Zoe McCarthy  talks about brainstorming and making your worst idea the most unique solution.

Jean Fischer talks about encouragement being the oxygen for the writer's soul. She shares her experience mentoring a young writer.

Rhonda Schrock talks about a special time when the Lord used a verse to lighten her way. If you're struggling with condemnation, this will give you a different view.

Writers and Readers: Has someone encouraged you and been a positive influence in your life? Please share.

Photo Credit: rxleal

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stamp Out SPAM

Anyone who surfs the Internet knows I'm not talking about that strange meat in a can. Unwanted, intrusive advertising fills our email folders, blog comments, and other social media outlets.

As we find ways to stamp out SPAM, spammers are getting more creative. They've discovered a way to slip by our safeguards. For the past couple of months, I've seen what look like genuine comments on my blog and my friends' blogs. If you're anything like me, I visit those who comment for the first time. The innocuous comment leads me straight to a commercial site. Bah humbug!

A lot of people hate the captchas, but they help keep spammers at bay. I'd rather take a few moments to fill one in than have the blogger forced to moderate comments.

Writers:  Have you experienced problems with spammers? How do you handle them?

Readers: How do you keep a lid on junk mail, while keeping the emails you want?

Photo Credit:  kveselyte

Friday, August 16, 2013

Social Media Resource Report

Social Media Resource Report

The book tables at The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference yielded a social media title that I HAD to pick up. Michelle Campbell-Scott wrote,"Goodreads for Authors: How to Promote Your Books With Goodreads." 

I haven't finished the book yet, but it's user friendly. At the end of each chapter, she has a summary for those who are in a hurry to get tips. The author gives statistics, showing Goodreads as a premier location for authors to reach readers. For the techy challenged, like me, it gives step-by-step directions with lots of illustrations.

I'm up to the chapter on Goodreads Giveaways. Since I'm planning to do one soon, I can't wait to see her suggestions and detailed instructions.

This book will remain on my shelf as a handy reference guide to Goodreads. I hope the author will follow-up with books on other social media sites.

By the way, the cashier at the conference asked me about Goodreads. After a brief conversation, she dashed over to the table and picked up the last copy of this book. How's that for word-of-mouth advertising?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Faith, Flexibility, and Flip-Flops

A pastor once said, "When you go on the mission field, you need faith, flexibility, and flip-flops." That saying burrowed itself into my heart. Here's what it means to me:

1.  Faith - When I take God at His word, I open the door for His direction and intervention in my life. A particular situation has been plaguing me the past month or so. At some point, I had one of those "duh" moments. Had I even prayed about the situation? Now, I'm on the alert for the answer.

2.  Flexibility - As a new author, I'm learning the value of flexibility. If I refuse to consider an alternate way of doing things, I risk becoming stagnant. So, I joined LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media. I'm taking the first step and exploring new methods of getting the word out about my book.

3.  Flip-Flops - While I'm not a big fan of this trend, they make me think of protective footwear. Shoes keep our feet away from sharp objects, germs, and other harmful elements. As a believer, my spiritual feet are protected by the Gospel of peace.

As I tread through this world, I want to leave a lasting footprint that honors my Lord. Whether it's writing or any other endeavor, I want people to see that "I've been with Jesus."

Writers & Readers: Nuggets can stick in our minds and affect our actions. What sayings inspire you? 

Photo Credit:  chopstix00

Friday, August 9, 2013

Short Break

Due to the death of my beloved friend, who was more like a sister, there will be no post today on  Christian Writer/Reader Connection.

Perhaps I'll be able to write about this in the future, but right now - it hurts too much.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stay Hydrated

The summer heat takes a toll on my flowers and veggies. If I'm not diligent to water them, I find droopy plants. The New Guinea Impatiens are particularly sensitive to dry conditions. So, every morning, I fill my watering can and give them a generous drink.

If it's particularly hot, I'll repeat the process in the early evening. They cannot produce the blooms I love or the veggies I crave without proper nourishment.

Writing is a lot like gardening. If I want the words to flow, there must be resources to sustain the process. Here are some of the things I do to keep my writing garden watered:

1)  I pay attention to my relationship with the Lord and with others. This requires spending quality time and giving of myself.

2)  All writing and no living sucks the life out of my creativity. I give myself permission to rest and have fun.

3)  I write Christian Speculative Fiction. It's important for me to read about new developments that will affect our future. This often gives me ideas for plots and characters.

These simple things help prevent the dreaded writer's block and keep my writing garden producing stories and devotionals for readers.

Writers:  How do you nurture your creativity?

Readers: How do you stay motivated with your work and hobbies?

Photo Credit:  techny57

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ready, Set, Surf!

I've got my notebook, pen, and a snack. Let's see what I can find today on the Internet.

1.  For all you Civil War buffs, check out Diane Estrella's review of Beth Harlow's book, The Journal: Lost Memoirs from the Civil War.

2.  Sharon KirkClifton gives us 10 steps to writing great book reviews.
3.  AusJenny clues us in on ways authors can lose readers.

Now that my notebook is full, my hand has writer's cramp, and I need a glass of milk to wash down my snack, it's time to head back to home base.

Writers & Readers: Do you write book reviews? What tips do you have to offer?

Photo Credit:  adamci