Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Writing about Writing....Ho Hum

I've been writing about writing way too much. Not sure why I went on the topic for so long but I'm quite tired of it. Soon I'll take my holiday blog break, which is a good thing because I've bored myself with all these posts about writing.

When I get back, I'm not sure what subjects will welcome in my new year. But I'm definitely up for a change of pace. I am so over posts about writing and publishing and marketing. Since it's what I do for a living, I really don't care to read and write blogs about it as well. I'm ready for a fresh new look and makeover.

What are you over in regard to blogging? Do you ever want to do a complete makeover on your site, including design, theme, post topics, etc? January is the month for makeovers and do-overs, and I am up for it. How about you?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Just write what people want to read

 Connecting writers and readers has never been simple. Yet because of social media, there's the mistaken idea that it's now a done deal. If only authors put enough information out there about themselves and their books, readers will find them. And buy them. And love them.

Twitter, Facebook, blog, Google +, Pinterest-- whatever it is, get on and promote your book! Anyone getting tired of this merry go round yet?

Especially when it doesn't work to sell books?

No, it does not. Seriously. Now don't get me wrong--once the book is out, you've got to give it a fighting chance by letting your potential audience know about it. But what happens if you've done all the social media over and over and over, and the book just isn't taking off?

Then it's not a book people want to read. Doing more social media won't change that. I'm not saying it's a bad book, it's simply not connecting with an audience. It may sound harsh but truth is, not everything flowing from our pens is golden.

What next then? Keep pounding away on yet another social media site trying to connect with that elusive audience? NO.

You've got to write another book, and maybe this time it'll be one readers connect with. It's been this way throughout the history of writing and publishing books. Nobody really knows what readers want. Who could have predicted Harry Potter, Twilight or the shades of gray phenomenon? Each of those authors just wrote what they wanted and struck gold.

The stupidest thing is to publish a couple books then quit writing and market like crazy trying to sell them. A better idea is to quit marketing and write like crazy.

Or better yet find a nice balance. But keep writing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I am just DYING to link my blog to Google+

Blogger is owned by Google. Google is relentlessly and shamelessly pushing their social media site Google+ on all of us Blogger people. I see the little icons beckoning me to link it up. I can hardly resist anything new but really hesitate linking my blog and G+ profile. I know once done, it can't be undone.

Comments will then go through one's G+ profile, if I understand correctly. Also, the Blogger profile will disappear forever, to be replaced with my G+ profile.

When I comment somewhere I want it to link back to my Blogger profile, not my Google + page. Or at least I think that's what I want...

I enjoy Google+ I really do, but it's nothing special. The home page is what we get everywhere else-- links to blog posts, informational sites, book promos, cover reveals and launch parties, etc etc etc.

But oooh that shiny G+ profile invitation! Not sure how long I can resist.

Get more from Blogger with Google+
Connect your blog to Google+ to reach more readers in new ways. It's quick and free.
Expand your audience
Share to Google+ with one click whenever you publish something new. You'll get a Google+ sharebox pre-loaded with your post, ready to help you reach new readers.
Manage comments in one place
Turn on Google+ Comments to bring comments on your posts together in one place, including posts about your content on Google+.
Find out which of your posts really pop
The +1 counter in your blog's dashboard shows you which posts are popular. You can also see how your Google+ posts are shared with Ripples.
Start conversations with Google+ mentions
Add Google+ mentions to your posts to get someone's attention. Your mention will link to their Google+ page or profile, and you can notify them when you share to Google+.

See what I mean???? It's so new and enticing! Those enthusiastic about Google+ say DO IT, it'll bring more page views, comments, visibility, and all that. But I'm just not sure.

What do you think? Have you linked your blog to your Google+ profile yet? Results, regrets? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Are we there yet?

I recently came across an award-winning writer I'd not previously heard of, who had written a dozen books or so, and who was published with a variety of reputable book publishers. Add to that being a professor at an Eastern college and you'd figure this author had arrived, right?

Well, why not, with a literary reputation and a position in acadamia. Back in the day before I worked in publishing, I'd have been envious of his accomplishments.

Since viewing Kindle rankings is an everyday activity of mine in my work with WiDo, I'll often check out author or publisher Kindle rankings, to see how their books compare in sales tours. Some of my own books' Kindle rankings aren't that great-- but compared to this particular author's, they were absolutely impressive.

What's the definition of writerly glory these days? It's definitely changed from when literary accolades and a scholarly resume were part of the formula. Clearly money enters into the equation. I imagine bestselling novelists like Danielle Steele and Stephen King, or self-published success stories like Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey, make more in one month's royalties than my anonymous writer/professor here will get in a lifetime of book sales.

But surely it's not just about money or fame or Kindle rankings.

Success is ever-changing, depending on where one is in the journey. When you get a publishing contract and/or an agent or even just finish the darn book: this definitely feels like success. I'm a fan of celebrating every step along the way. A finished manuscript. A contract. A launch. A positive review. Whatever it is, celebrate!

I use a pattern of personal goal-setting and forward movement to avoid envy, vanity, frustration, discouragement and such discomfort that comes with comparing oneself to others. It helps keep me on an even keel with my writing career. So wherever I am at the moment can feel perfectly okay, while continuing to work toward what's next.

As a writer, do you feel like a success yet? If not, what would need to change to make it happen?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are Privacy Issues Online an Issue?

In the years before Facebook, and even earlier-- like in the 1990's--back when we saw the Internet as a creepy place of chat rooms and stalkers, parents were warned not to let their kids sign in unsupervised. "Only to do homework, and that under watchful eyes."

Now those same kids are grown up parents of darling little kids, and they are online posting photos, names and ages of their children. Everyone is doing it, and yet it was really not so long ago that we were all worried about privacy issues. What happened that made these concerns go away?

And can we really trust Facebook, or Google (ha!) or any other online site with their spotty guarantees and frequently changing policies to guard our privacy for us? Of course not. Mainly since they're all in the business of collecting and sharing and selling information about their major product, which is us. Us and our kids.

I have to admit, I've not previously been concerned about privacy. My job was to get information out about my books, and to do that you've got to share a lot about yourself, not just as an author but as a person. Blogging itself opens numerous doors to one's personal world. Maybe at first one is careful but as time goes by, and online seems like such a nice safe and cozy little world, the guard comes down. More information is shared. Pretty much anything anyone wants to find out about a person is there.

What do you think? Should we be concerned? More careful about what we post and share? And if you've got any stories to tell about this topic one way or the other, please let us know. Because there's a little voice in the back of my head right now that's warning me to just watch it.

Here's an example and something that bothers me on so many levels:

My address is posted on the "white pages" or various other directories when you Google WiDo.  I've never given out my home address as WiDo's business address, yet every PO box my husband or I have rented for any purpose (some even before we were involved with WiDo) shows up as WiDo's "address" on Google. When we moved houses our new address showed up as WiDo's "address."

The information is not only wrong-- WiDo's address is clearly posted on its website and has never changed in six years-- yet if my husband and I move or rent a PO Box, these addresses are what random online directories post for WiDo Publishing. I'd not only like to get the correct information out there, I'd like to know how to keep our private lives private!

What do you think? How can we blog and be involved on social media, oftentimes as part of our business marketing plans, and still maintain our personal privacy? Is it even possible? I don't think it is, but if anyone knows otherwise please share!