Friday, November 28, 2014

Oh, To Dream!

I remember when I had time to putter around with crafts, crocheting, and spend afternoons reading.  Fast forward to life with a full-time job, caregiving, and a book contract.

One of the things I do to keep from being an "all work, no play gal," is visit fun Internet sites. I'm interested in many subjects, so feeding that part of my brain helps keep me sane. Here are a few places I visited recently:

1.  My blogging friend, Dotti Adamek, has done a fun series on author dates this year. See what happened when she gate crashed a writer's conference.

2.  Jean Fischer, from Something to Write Home About, did a delightful post on writer gifts. See if there are some you'd put on your Wish List.

3.  I try to be organized - really. Since it doesn't come naturally, I enjoy visiting bloggers who have a knack for it. I recently discovered "Goodbye House! Hello, Home." Enjoy!

Writers:   Which writer's gift is your favorite? I liked the earrings. :)

Readers:  What sites do you visit when you want to chill out?

Photo Credit:  Nazreth

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. They'd left behind religious persecution for a wild, untamed land. With the help of local Indians, they planted crops and gathered a bountiful harvest. A three-day feast was held in 1621 to thank God for His provision.

Today, Americans gather for a traditional meal with family and friends. Yet the focus has been turned around. How many times do we hear, "Happy Turkey Day?" Instead of thanking the One who provided the blessings we enjoy, the attention centers on the food and fellowship.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let's remember to thank the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

Writers and Readers:  What are you thankful for today? I'll go first. I'm grateful I was born in a country where I can worship God freely.

Photo Credit:  abcdz2000

Monday, November 24, 2014

3 Ways to Connect

As winter approaches, it's a good time to hunker down and get some writing done. Whether you're pre-published, published, or a blogger, you might want to think of doing some guest posts or scheduling blog posts for the busy holiday season.

Here are some tips:

1.  If you belong to American Christian Fiction Writers, I urge you to join their email loop. Bloggers will often post opportunities for guest spots, especially at this time of the year. Many popular blogs fill their calendars a six months to a year in advance.

2.  Do you have a book coming out soon? You can let folks know your desire for influencers, guest posts, or advanced readers. Besides the ACFW loop, Facebook groups, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are a good way to connect with others who might be interested in featuring your book.

3.  Scheduling posts for your blog makes a lot of sense throughout the year, but during holidays it's even more important. When you've got food to prepare, a home to decorate, gifts to buy, preparations for guests in addition to normal activities, you can breathe easier knowing you've got 5-10 posts scheduled. It's a great stress buster.

Bonus idea:  Look for recipes, crafts, or decorating ideas to include with your holiday-themed posts. A link within a post can add value to your blog.

Writers and Readers:  How do you keep up with blogging/writing/life during this season? Please share your thoughts and ideas.

Photo Credit:  jayofbox

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Do I...?

If you're like me, you turn to the Internet for advice on everything from writing to taking care of houseplants. There's an abundance of material available. Here are a few stops on my Internet journey:

1.  Lori Hatcher, at The Write Conversation, gives a no-nonsense approach to writing non-fiction. Don't miss these excellent tips.

2.  Vonda Skelton guest posts at The Write Conversation and tackles the whole issue of networking. Is advertising your work compatible with the teachings of Jesus?

3.  With Christmas approaching, I was thinking about my favorite plants associated with the season. It can be tricky getting a Christmas Cactus to bloom. Here are some tips from wikiHow.

Writers and Readers:  Do you search the Internet for tips on how to do things like take care of plants? What are some of your favorite sites?

Have a blessed week!

Photo Credit:  Dcrump

Monday, November 17, 2014

5 Ways to Find Your Audience

Whether you're writing non-fiction or fiction, blogging, or selling cars, you need to find people who are interested in your specialty. I've come up with five tips to help you connect with your audience:

1.  Hang out where they congregate. Social media is a great place, but it's also a HUGE place. Facebook and Goodreads have interest-specific groups that can connect you with your peeps.

My cousin crafts handmade glass beads. She posts on groups that cater to this audience. I don't join those because readers want to find books and interact with their favorite authors. So, I belong to Christian Authors and Christian Authors and Writers (and many others).

2.  Identify your niche and seek connection with those who have similar interests. This may seem like a rehash of #1, but narrows it down even more. Does this mean you can't be friends with writers from a different genre? Of course not, but you'll find more support and practical guidelines within your own group.

3.  Book Clubs. My local library has various groups that meet to discuss all sorts of topics from gardening to Shakespeare. They also have a writers group and occasionally host a local authors night. Check out what your public library offers in the way of activities. You could find your audience in your own backyard.

4.  Book Signings. I recently had a table at a local event. The readers I met asked wonderful questions like, "what inspired you to write this book?" Be prepared to engage those who approach you in conversation. Another person shared her enthusiasm for a particular book. I was able to suggest another title she might enjoy. She was so excited that she purchased one of my books and said she'd pick up the others online.

5.  Speaking Engagements. This one is still on my to-do list. It can also take the form of teaching a class at Adult Education, a Senior Citizen group, or online. One of my friends (Hi, Karen!) teaches online classes for teens. Another friend (Hi, Jen!) has a singing/speaking ministry.

If people perceive you're an expert on a subject or they like your presentation, they'll often ask about your website or the books you've written.

Writers and Readers:  How do you connect with like-minded people? Please share.

Photo Credit: AYLA87

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Agent, The Author, and The Social Media Expert

1.  Literary Agent, David Van Diest, guest posts at The Write Conversation. He addresses 5 misperceptions about writing a book proposal.

If you're anything like me, this task ranks right up there with the synopsis. I'd rather write an entire book than either of these, "please publish my book," pieces. This post might give you a bit of relief.

2.  Multi-published, award-winning author, Cathy Gohlke, talks about Planning for Courage in her latest blog post.

3.  If you're reading this, you're on Social Media. Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about Eight Social Media Posts You Should NEVER Share.

Writers:  What is the one task you dread on the publishing journey and why?

Readers:  What type of information do you avoid sharing on the Internet?

Photo Credit:  ljleavell

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pen Names - Do You Have One?

I don't - at least not yet. When I started on this wild ride called, "publication," it didn't occur to me that a pen name might be advantageous.

By the time I discovered another writer in the general market with the same name and living in the same state, it was too late. I would have had to start platform building from scratch and that wasn't happening.

Authors use pen names for many reasons:

1.  Some wish to protect their privacy.
2.  Others want to protect their families.
3.  They want to select a name that works better with their genre.
4.  They want to avoid confusion if they write in more than one genre.
5.  In my situation, distinguishing between two writers with the same name.

Questions to ask yourself:

1.  Are there other writers with your name? Do a Google search for authors with the same/similar name. Also, enter your name in the Amazon search box.
2.  If your book becomes a blockbuster, will you be comfortable having your real name plastered everywhere?
3.  Do you have an extremely long/unusual name that readers might have a hard time remembering?
4.  Are you planning to write in more than one genre or to produce both fiction and non-fiction?
5.  Will using my real name endanger my family?

I might consider a pen name in the future - especially for a different genre. For now, I'll be around as the real me, Susan J. Reinhardt. :)

Writers:  What are your thoughts concerning pen names?

Readers/Bloggers:  Being on the Internet presents many challenges. How do you protect your privacy?

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Little Bit of This and That

I'm interested in a lot of subjects. Today, I've tossed a few of them in my blog jar to share with you. :)

1.  Amy Sullivan guest posts on Zoe McCarthy's blog. Would you like to know how to conduct a professional author interview over the phone or via email? Check out her excellent tips.

2.  The Procrastiwriter hosts an Israeli writer, Moran Chaimovitz, on the subject of reading your story out loud - to a live audience! Please note: The article contains minimal/mild profanity.

3.  All of my books deal with near-future America. Older people face discrimination when it comes to accessing healthcare. World Net Daily reports that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is a long-time advocate of rationing healthcare for older people This is being discussed TODAY.

4.  On a lighter note, Jeanette Levellie. at On Wings of Mirth and Worth, extols the virtues of small-town living. Find out what happened when the fire department was called.

5.  Congratulations to Karen Lange on the release of her latest book, Write for Life. This approximately 83-page tutorial helps young people master the art of producing a research paper. If you've been out of school as long as I have, it's a great refresher for adults as well!

Writers:  Have you ever read your work out loud to a critique partner? Please share what you learned.

Readers:  Which link was your favorite and why?

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo credit:  ba1969

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Signs You're a Tortoise or a Hare

1.  Takes off at top speed
2.  Excels at sprints, but loses steam when it comes to marathons
3.  Needs exterior motivation to get moving - a dog chasing will do nicely
4.  Easily distracted
5.  Wants instant gratification

1.  Is slow getting off the starting line.
2.  Will never be viewed as an "overnight success"
3.  Keeps moving - crisis or no crisis
4.  Focused/determined
5.  Is willing to take as much time as needed to reach goals

Writers:  Are you in the game for the long haul? How do you handle rejection/delays/disappointments?

Readers:  How do you stick with the projects you start? Do you have any tips for finishing with the same enthusiasm as when you began?

Photo Credits:  Tortoise - michaelAW
                         Rabbit - RobinC720