Indie e-Con / / Instagram for Authors

 

(This post is written in correlation with the Indie e-Conference. Jump over to Kendra’s Blog for more awesome posts!)

 

With the numerous social media platforms out there, how on earth are we supposed to keep up with them all? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, (and I know there are more but those are the ones that come to mind) — how exactly are we supposed to come up with content for all of them on a regular basis?

For myself and many other authors with busy lives, it’s simply unattainable. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t keep up. Yet at the same time, I knew I needed to expand my platform to reach more readers. So where’s the happy medium?

At the council of a friend, I chose one media platform to start with. One that I thought I would enjoy. One that would just take a few moments to make posts on.

I picked INSTAGRAM.

Three reasons why Instagram is perfect for me:

  1. I’m a visual person. I take a lot of pictures in a day. It wasn’t hard for me to me more intentional and post pictures of what I’m already doing.
  2. It’s fast. Take a picture. Make a caption. Come up with a few hashtags (I keep hashtags to a minimum, but I know there is a lot more that can be done with them).
  3. I enjoy it! Pictures are fun. I’m no photographer, and 99% of my Instagram pics are from my phone.

 

Personally, it’s not difficult to come up with content for Instagram. I try to do 4-ish posts a week. If it’s more than that, great! If it’s less…well, life happens. It’s not a big deal.

But what can writers post on Instagram?

Anything. At. All. Instagram is one of those things that can be personalized or professionalized. Some authors I’ve seen post more professional-type pictures, with the personal bit coming in only every now and again. Other’s I’ve seen are the opposite–mostly personal with professionalism visiting.

The personal route is what works best for me. I include pictures of things I do with my siblings, road trips, school stuff–generally random stuff. Then there are the bookish posts, where I post about what I’m reading, what releases I’m looking forward to, etc. And then, very occasionally, promotional posts for my own books. *cringe*

From a writer standpoint, there are so many options. If your idea tank runs dry, try some of these ideas:

  • Your favorite book
  • Your favorite cover
  • Your writing space
  • A coffee/tea mug you love
  • Your window view as you write
  • Your bookshelf
  • Your favorite writing resources
  • Selfies while writing/editing/plotting
  • Memes
  • Prompts
  • Your furry writing buddy (dogs, cats, hamsters, raccoons… ;-) )
  • Screenshots of your writing music playlist

 

Instagram is a versatile, fun, easy, and fast. It’s ideal for authors with little time who want to actively connect with followers. It’s perfect for scatterbrains (*points to self*) who more often than not sometimes forget what day it is and when they last posted anything on any social platform.

Most of all, Instagram is an awesome method for connecting with followers in a visual, picture oriented way.

 

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What is your favorite social media platform?

Have you tried Instagram?

 

NaNo Make-Up #2

It’s time! Our first NaNo Make-Up went so well, we’re gearing up for another!

 

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to NaNo when it works for me. So, I’m hosting a Make-Up that will run from March 15th to April 15th. (Yes, I know it will overlap with the actual CampNaNo. Sorry.)

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

I hope you can join me! It will be fun!!!

Top 3 Writing Blogs

 

Who doesn’t like learning about new writing resources? I know I do! But honestly, with all the fantastic writing blogs out there, it can be hard to narrow them down. These three, in no particular order, are the ones I spend most of my time on.

 

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Go Teen Writers is awesome because of the broad spectrum of topics they cover. I love all the articles about getting over writer’s block, what to do when characters are misbehaving, and how to work with a frustrating plotline. Also, GTW is all about getting beginning writers started, providing encouragement, and opening opportunities for young writers to get their work critiqued by experts.

 

I just recently discovered The Writer’s Alley, but what a treasure trove! This is a blog that is a wonderful mash-up of authors in all walks of life and all seasons of stories. There is something for EVERYONE on there! I haven’t had a ton of time to go digging through archives, but the few posts I’ve read about time management have been wonderful.

 

 

This is also a new find for me thanks to my critique partner Abi, and I love it! The posts are a little shorter and more to the point than the first two blogs, which I sincerely appreciate! Lots of good stuff on this blog.

 

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What’s your favorite writing blog?

NaNo Make-Up #1

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to do NaNo when it works for me. So, myself and Emily McConnell are hosting a NaNo Make-Up that will run from January 15th to February 15th.

 

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join us, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

 

I hope you can join us this month! However, if it doesn’t work for your schedule, know that we will be doing a second Make-Up from March 15th to April 15th.

 

November Goals/Writing Update

I’m going to go back to monthly wrap posts, but instead of trying to wrap up October, I’m just going to start with November goals. :P

And since I don’t have time to make a cool feature image, let me leave you with this neat picture I took yesterday that I’m a little proud of.

 

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Writing

Even though I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I’m going to be fixing up and finishing a bunch of other projects.

  1. Finish Even Through Rain
  2. Publish above short story (Information forthcoming)
  3. Complete edits on secret project (Details forthcoming)
  4. Send said project to editor
  5. COMPLETELY OUTLINE Long Lake Legacy book 2. (LOTS of details forthcoming ;-P )

 

 

I don’t really have any other specific goals for this month other than writing, since that will be my focus. But who knows…life has been throwing me curveballs as of late!! ;-)

 

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Do you have any goals for November?

Are you doing NaNo?

If not, are you working on something else?

How I Write a Book FAST(ish)

Letter to My Book

That’s probably not a title you expected from me. I didn’t either. But I’ve come to realize that I do write fast, even if it seems like it takes an eternity. The Old River Road took eight months from first words to published. So how do I do it?

Let me introduce you to this lovely thing I call Binge Writing.

Binge Writing, otherwise known as a Writing Spree, is something I started doing out of sheer desperation. NaNo of 2015 was my very first attempt at writing 50,000 words in less than a year (in less than 3 years, actually). And I did it. 50,000 in one month.

After November, I was pretty convinced that I would just participate in every single NaNo and camp NaNo available. Great idea, in theory. It just so happens that April, July, and November are pretty much the very worst months for me to buckle down and focus on something.

Also, I have the attention span of a gnat. It’s called ADD. I like instant gratification. And yes, THERE IS A WAY to have it in writing.

I schedule two binge writes a month. 5 days of 2,000 words per day, one week off, then another 5 days of 2,000 words a day.

Why 2,000 words a day?

This will vary from person to person, but I’ve found that 2,000 words is my sweet spot. I know without a doubt that I can write that much and not be stressed.

Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. I can write that much with minimal stress. :)

That number is flexible, however. Some weeks, if I have a lot of schoolwork to do or I’m working more hours, I might lower it to 1,500. Or 1,000. Or 500. The point is to write some amount of words, consistently, for 5 days.

It adds up overtime, kinda like change in a jar. When the jar is full, you can be surprised at how much money is in there. When the week is over, you can be surprised at how much that word count has come up.

Give it a try. And tell me how it went! :)

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What are your writing habits?

 

PROOF COPY!!!!!!

I had another post planned for today, but life happened and that went out the window.

ANYWAY…

 

Lately my life has been consumed by college and preparing to launch The Old River Road. I had NO IDEA how much work it is to prepare a book launch! Here’s a cyber high-five to everyone who has done it. You’re amazing.

 

 

Some excitement has happened on that front…

The Old River Road is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

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I got to see my book ON MY KINDLE:

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And my proof copy arrived!!! *confetti* *fireworks* *chocolate chips!*

 

 

 

 

 

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Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? I drooled over it for a few seconds before showing it off to my family.

 

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Boy, the emotions of that moment…opening the box and seeing MY BOOK (btw I thought the contents of the package was another author’s book I had ordered)–I was able to forget all the late nights and tears and struggles for a few glorious minutes. It was so worth it. SO worth it.  There is absolutely nothing like the feeling of holding the finished product in my hand. And look at how thick and georgeous it is!!!

 

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I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!! :)

 

Beautiful People–June Edition

Here we are, with another round of Beautiful People!

I’m telling you, this one is GOOD. It’s the childhood edition. Childhoods have a huge impact on characters, so this one was super good for me to write. And guess who the character is from? (Hint, hint.) Yup, Ocean Hues! You’re probably getting sick and tired of these characters by now…so sorry. Its so good for me to be doing these, as I need some inspiration to get this story finished, and deepen the characters. I’m almost done with the first draft! *WOOT! WOOT!*

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What is their first childhood memory?

Chelsea has fleeing images of her mom, but the first real “memory” is when her daddy asked her what they should name their new fishing vessel, and she said, “Cora Lee for Mommy!” It’s the only time she remembers her dad crying. (She was three.)

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What were their best and worst childhood experiences?

Best would be sitting on her daddy’s lap in the wheelhouse of the Cora Lee doing schoolwork and watching the deckhands below. The worst would be

What’s something that scared them as child?

Two things.03fe7e016479f460472b8666b0600e82

Number 1, gummy worms.(She has three boy cousins, two of them older than her. Imagine the stories about innocent gummy worms?)

Number 2, sleeping in a room by herself. Maybe it started after her mom died, and her dad started letting her sleep in his bed. Or maybe because there was always a stray cousin ready to have a sleepover.

 

Who did they look up to most?

She looked up to her aunt Kendra, who was the only mother figure in her life and taught her girl things in an all-boy household.

Favorite and least favorite childhood foods?

Favorite would be raw broccoli, and least favorite is shrimp (still is).  :)

If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?

She wouldn’t take her close-knit family, unusual as they are, for granted.

dd88c1ee08afc5915dba7daa947b01daWhat was their childhood home like?

It’s a beachfront cottage on a quiet, secluded beach on the Washington coast.

 

 

What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?

A combo of curious and devious, and probably a hint of wild. When raised by only a dad, next door to three boy cousins, she had to learn to hold her own.

What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like?

Her relationship with her dad is pretty special, especially so because she doesn’t have a mom. She doesn’t have siblings, but her three boy cousins are the closest things she’s got, and they all get along very well, even in their adult years.

What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?

She wanted to be a crab fisher like her daddy. And she married a crab fisher. :) Next best thing.

 

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Are you getting sick of Chelsea yet? Should I switch to another character to interview for these things?

What kind of a child were you?

Writing Romance: Where to Draw the Line?

No doubt, this is a touchy subject. I do not claim to be right, nor do I claim to be an expert on the subject. I’m probably going to make some people upset with this post, and I know that not everyone is going to agree with me–and that’s OKAY! I’m merely going to point out some of my personal convictions when it comes to writing romance. Sound good?

 

Letter to My Book(1)

Just about everyone will admit that they have read–or watched–an encounter between a couple that made them uncomfortable. Even if the couple is married, the way they show affection to one another–affection that is not “wrong”–can feel very wrong to be seeing [or reading] it.

On the flip side, there are those books where the couples rarely show affection to one another.

As a reader, either one of these scenarios can be maddening. As a writer, it can be hard to know how much is appropriate to show.

So how can you know?

This is a subject that really bothered me a few years ago. Hence, I decided that the best route to take was to write romance-free books. It was a great idea in theory, but my characters revolted. I found myself needing a way to handle their romance rather than ignore it.

So I went crying to my dear mom, “How do I know if it is okay to write about characters who decided to love each other?!?”

Moms are full of wisdom, peeps.

She told me something that someone had told her when she was young, and it boils down to this:

Would that couple be doing/saying/behaving that way if someone was standing in the room watching them?

I had to think about that for some time before I made sense of it in my head. And, more importantly, I had to figure out what that meant for my writing.

What I decided to do is pretty much what that says. My characters don’t do, say, or behave in such a way that would make me uncomfortable if I were in the same room as them.

Let’s face it: plenty of things go on between couples that other people shouldn’t see, whether it be a private conversation, a passionate kiss, etc. Therefore, they shouldn’t go in books. Readers are smart, and a little imagination can go far enough. There is no need to be explicit about subjects that should be reserved for husbands and wives.

“But how can I show that my characters love each other without writing those things?”

Think about it–do you have to see what goes on behind closed doors to know that couples you know (parents/neighbors/friends) are in love? I don’t. If you pay attention, it really isn’t that difficult to see when a couple loves each other merely my the way they interact even in a public setting.

Love can be shown in so many ways. I challenge you to utilize some of the more subtle ways of showing love between couples, and leave what happens behind closed doors behind closed doors. It is entirely possible to write a sweet romance/relationship without giving too much information.

For my own writing, I have made the decision to not write any romantic relationship that goes beyond what I would be comfortable seeing/hearing were I in the room with my characters. I have been told that the romance I write is “immature” and should be “more graphic.”

I must admit that I actually laughed when I heard that.

But you know what? I’d rather write “immature” and “un-graphic” romance that I believe is appropriate than worry about overstepping my bounds and making some readers, not to mention myself, uncomfortable.

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How do you feel about writing romance? Are there any specific guidelines you’ve set up for yourself? I’d love to hear–new ideas are always welcome! :)