sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

Coordinating WordPress.com with Twitter February 7, 2010

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Jonathan B asked me if there was an easy way to link your WordPress blog to Twitter so that anything you blog gets tweeted. There are three main ways to connect your WordPress.com blogs with Twitter.

Display your newest blog posts on your Twitter page
Click on
Dashboard
My blogs
Publicize
to automatically post a link to your Twitter and/or Yahoo accounts.

Add a sidebar box that shows your Twitter updates
A lot of people dislike this feature because they feel their tweets are personal. It’s up to you—people’s tweets will show up on most search engines anyhow.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Add Twitter: Display your tweets from Twitter.
The next page will ask you how far down you want the Tweet box to be. Click on where you’d like it, and save to the sidebar.

Add a Follow Me on Twitter button
I visited twitterbuttons to get my HTML code for my button (because WordPress.com only works with HTML. It drive the Java nuts crazy :D). There are oodles of buttons to choose from, so you can switch yours out every week if you want to.
Once you have copied the code, you can add it as a text box in your sidebar.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Text: Arbitrary text or HTML
Add
Paste the code into the text box on the next page, say how far down you want the button to be, and save to the sidebar.

Happy tweeting!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Fabulous book promotion guide January 25, 2010

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Oh my goodness, this lady is just brilliant!

I wrote about Stephie Smith a few weeks ago because she has an excellent chart on different writing contests you can submit to, but I just discovered a newer feature of her site . . . a book promotion guide!

Below is her list of every suggestion she has to promote your book. C’est incroyable! Hop onto this table’s contents as fast as you can.


Advertising
How To Articles
PR Agencies
Book Review Sites
Mailing Lists
Promotion Tips
Blogs / Interviews
Online Classes
Video Trailers
Chats
Website Stuff
                                                                                                                     
And is Stephie content with providing this to struggling artists such as ourselves? Mais non! She also provides the following list of writers’ resources.
                                       

General Writers’ Resources
Agents
Different Genres
Promoting Your Book
Blogging and Blogs
Grammar, Punctuation
Publishing Your Book
Book Review Sites
Money, Taxes & Jobs
Romance Reading
Contests & Exercises
News on Books & Publishing
Romance Writing
Craft of Writing
Pitching Your Book
Writing Scripts

Historical Resources
American History
Fashion & Costumes
Scotland
Architecture, Landscaping
Industrial Revolution
Ships & Naval History
Coinage
Medieval-18th c. England
Titles, Bios & Genealogy
Crime and Punishment
Pirates, Smuggling, Trade
Victorian Era
Culture (Art, Speech, etc.)
Regency Era
World History

You are probably thinking by now that Stephie is a good friend of mine and we have this pact to help each other out. Not so. I found her site quite by chance and feel that all her hard work must be proclaimed from the highest rooftops. This is a fabulous accomplishment and it’s all for us!

Ok, I’ll calm down now, and I’ll quit with the exclamation marks. Again, here’s her page of writers’ resources.

If you’d like to thank her for making all her hard work available at no cost, you can buy her booklet here.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Make your blog more impressive January 21, 2010

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We’ve nearly completed the second bloggiesta list of mini challenges, an idea of great genius that helps blogging writers everywhere.

.Get rid of the dead links
“For your challenge, click on this link, and follow the directions in order to make a better blog for your readers.” ~Karin from Karin’s Book Nook

A blog looks much more professional when all the links work. OK, so you didn’t know and you wrote that post two years ago. The thing is, though, people can still find that post, and you don’t want them to leave your site disappointed.
                                     
Encourage yourself
“Find a post or two–or however many–and mentally buff them up. Then? Put them up on a pedestal.” ~ Tempting Persephone

Chelle from Tempting Persephone likes the idea of making your best/favorite work stand out on your site. Hopefully it will encourage you to know what you are capable of on those grouchy days.

Find and give more blogging help
The Bloggie Cult is a discussion board where bloggers can discuss blogging issues, tips and tricks, and get general information.” ~ Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century

Kristen (see below) and Kate from Neverending Shelf encourage bloggers to join The Bloggie Cult to maximize the help bloggers can give each other.

Only one more mini challenge to go! :)

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Tag your blog posts and back up your files January 18, 2010

Filed under: Business advice,Technology tips,Writing — sallyhanan @ 6:54 pm
Tags: , ,

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And on we go with the bloggiesta mini challenges.

Beth from Beth Fish Reads tells us the benefits of making a short tag list. After looking at her tag list, I can see why she wants to make it shorter! :)

Some suggestions for this list would be:
Book reviews
Marketing help
Wordpress help
Blog post help
Grammar and punctuation
Sally’s writing
News for writers
Authors
Agents/publishing houses

But how do you add a tag list to your homepage?
Beth has a list of suggestions for Blogger and WordPress.org. Making a list for WordPress.com is pretty easy—Wordpress has two choices:

A tag cloud tracks all the tags you place on each post.
A category cloud tracks the categories you have put each post into.

You can find both on the widgets page of your dashboard.

What I think I’ll do over the next few days is increase my category cloud (down at the very end of the right column). Rather than have all my posts divided up into three categories, I believe it will be more efficient to have them split into the tag labels I suggested above. While my tag cloud is helpful, it is too random for those who want to be efficient with their time, and, because I am such a helpful blogger, I will fix that. :)

Jackie from Farm Lane Books wants to help us never cry over a lost blog, and she tells us how to back up everything with two clicks. (I’d say “with two shakes of a lamb’s tail,” but not many of us have one of those lying around, or do we . . ?)
                                                                 

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Copyright your blog posts and speed things up January 17, 2010

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Maw Books’ second Bloggiesta challenge has passed, but I approve wholeheartedly of the slow and steady method of starting/finishing the race (mostly because I forgot about it). I encourage you all to complete everything on the challenge list because it just makes sense.

Danielle from There’s a Book challenges us to create a blogging cheat sheet.
This list could include:
URLs you use repeatedly,
blog post templates,
links to royalty-free photos,
author interview templates,
book review templates.
                                                                                                                   
A great idea, posted by some of Pam’s readers, was to put the completed cheat sheet into Google documents so it could be accessed it from anywhere. Danielle has posted her mock sheet here.

Pam from Bookalicio.us helps everyone to keep ahead of copyright issues by giving advice in how to:
update the homepage,
pay the fee for copyright registration,
check to see if people are posting your work as their own,
add an automatic copyright to your feeds.

Pam also suggests a WordPress plugin to help your SEO.

I used a different widget that works with WordPress.com. I’ve added it to my cheat template, and you can check it out at the bottom of this post.

Comment here when you have completed both mini-challenges so I can give you a high five. :)

Sally

P.S. Don’t forget to keep posting your five comments a day on other blogs.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Free blog exposure August 23, 2009

Filed under: Business advice — sallyhanan @ 1:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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Alpha Inventions.com is a site a techie guy made to combat boredom. Basically, it works like other random-pick sites that flash through blog pages and you click on the ones you like the look of. This site is slightly different, though, in that it rotates the blogs most recently published rather than every blog in existence.

You might see alphainventions as a click-through site on your stats list, even if you did nothing to let alphainventions know you existed. You can, however, sign your site up on the site and get even more clicks, and if you want to have your site rotated more frequently, you can pay a subscription of $9.97 per month.

Here’s a vid. further explaining how it works.

Obviously, just having people see your site is never enough. You must have quality content and hooks—enough material to draw readers in. If you have a writing blog, then your content must be eclectic enough to have people stop and actually read what you have. Yours has to be different, stand out, keep them reading. I’m not going to make any claims to having those qualities in my blog, but at least I have more of an opportunity to have random visits to my blog from unknowns. Now I’m getting free exposure from a kind-hearted dude who was bored. :)

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Market Your Fiction (and Yourself) July 20, 2009

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Penny C. Sansevieri
Today’s interview is with Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a best-selling author and internationally-recognized book marketing and media relations expert.

Penny began her career in the publicity, book marketing, and literary field over fifteen years ago. During that time she has been an author, freelance writer, publicist, and instructor. Penny’s most recent book, Red Hot Internet Publicity, has been called “an indispensable guide to leveraging the Internet for success.” The second edition is being released soon.

Promoting fiction
I’ve read a lot about author platform, social media, and other ways to promote authors and their books, but most of the advice seems to refer to writers of non-fiction. Is this because it’s harder to promote authors of fiction? If so, what are the difficulties unique to promoting fiction authors?

It’s tough to promote fiction. That’s always been the case, mostly because fiction authors always try to promote the book, not the message. Remember that it’s never about the book; it’s about what the book can do for the reader. Sometimes you have to get super creative with this, like the marketing team did for My Sister’s Keeper—they incited debate on the very topic that is the arc of the story. That’s really what you want to create. So, for example, if you’ve written a story about spousal abuse, child abuse, etc., there might be some discussion points on those subjects that you can “hook” your message on.

For example, a few months ago I taught a webinar and talked with a participating author who had written a vampire YA novel. He said that he was not looking forward to competing with Stephanie Meyer, who had just released her book. I told him to pitch himself locally on the topic of YA vampire fiction and see if he could get himself on some shows. He was on three shows in his area talking about the trend of this type of book and, of course, during the interview, he was able to mention his own title!

Which would you say is more important—promotion of the author or promotion of the book?

That depends on what the brand is. Generally in fiction the author (at some point) becomes the brand. But let’s say it’s early in your career and you have only published one book. Maybe it’s the story (your story) that is your marketing hook. Maybe you overcame obstacles to do this work. Whatever it is, market the hottest element, either the book or the author, and if it’s tough to determine what this is, then sit down with someone who can be objective and guide you. Spending a couple of hundred dollars to get some focused direction might save you thousands of dollars in the long run on marketing

Are there any staple skills that you require of authors before you take them on as clients?

Not really. Authors come to us in all stages of marketing knowledge and readiness. I must love the book; that’s the first piece of this. I try and get the book (or the manuscript if it’s not published yet) and do a read through. I believe that at the end of the day, I’m selling this book, and I can’t sell something I don’t believe in.

The average reader of this blog is a woman who is between thirty-five and fifty-five. (Yes, I made those ages up in my head based on the profile pictures of fans!) She has written her first novel, edited it to perfection, but could not find an agent or publisher to take her on. Instead, she released it through a reputable print-on-demand company. She has a blog, and she is active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook; however, her book is not selling. Is she doing something wrong? What can she do?

Keep in mind that not everything you do will relate in sales and, candidly, you should *never* measure the success of what you’re doing in sales alone and here’s why: traction for a book is cumulative. It’s what I call the long runway of publishing success. You have to keep the momentum going for a while before you see results and, often, authors get discouraged at the 90-day point and give up. That’s why I suggest keeping a running list of things to do. Surround yourself with people who will help you keep the momentum to keep marketing, even when you feel like giving up. If you’re doing the right marketing you’ll see a marked difference—perhaps in web visitors or signups to your social networking page or a jump in your Twitter followers. Success leaves clues, so does effective marketing, but to measure it by sales is too discouraging. Remember the rule of 7—it takes seven impressions of your book, message, or product for the consumer to buy it. I almost think that the rule of 7 is not the rule of 70, though. With so much stuff coming at us at any given time, it’s tough to sift through it. That’s why consistency of message and consistency of marketing are both important. It takes seven consistent impressions.

When you think of the top fiction authors you have helped, what was it that they did (over and above other clients) that sold more books? Alternatively, have fiction authors ever done things that damaged their sales figures?

Let me answer the second question first. The thing that authors do (and this isn’t just limited to fiction) to damage their sales and career is that they give up or switch horses mid-race. By this I mean that they think what they’re doing isn’t working and they switch to doing something completely different. This steals the momentum from their first project, just like you’d lose steam in a race if you switched fuels.

The thing that separates the successful fiction authors from the unsuccessful is the successful ones keep going. As long as the direction is good (and again, if you’re not sure, spend some time and money on a coaching session with a marketing professional) then keep going. Also, often the best way to sell your first book is with your second and so on, so if all else fails, keep writing.

Finally, be open to feedback from reliable people. Your family and friends will all love what you do, so don’t dismiss their feedback, but what you want is someone in the industry to offer you insight and advice. Perhaps that person can even suggest slight improvements to what you’ve written or point out a new, more supportive marketing direction.

You currently have over eleven thousand subscribers to your weekly newsletter. What do you think has made it so successful?

I think the reason for its success is that we always go heavy on the helpful information and light on the self-promotion. So often you read newsletters that are all about “buy this” and “buy that”—I tend to unsubscribe from those very quickly. A good newsletter should be 95 percent helpful and 5 percent self-promotion.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Spruce up your blog June 21, 2009

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‘Tis a far far better thing that I just did than I have ever done (with my blog). Bloggiesta is now over, and I am highly grateful to Maw Books for hosting it, and to her friends for the many challenges they put forth.

I typed my last words at 2 a.m. on a laptop while in bed. My husband’s hopes of activity were sorely dashed, but I had to let Ruth of the Bookish Ruth blog know that I had completed her challenge so that I could be in with a chance to win her prize. What that is, I have no idea. IE won’t let me read her page anymore. After telling my husband that information, he felt even more special.

Here is what I have done after forty-eight hours of challenges:
Written two back-up posts for rainy/busy days
Invited a guest blogger
Created a template post with my “add this” button and my editing services banner. (Isn’t the banner great? I can’t believe I managed to pull that one off without high-tech hubby’s help!)
Cleaned up tags and my sidebar
Made an inksnatcher favicon
Edited and updated my “about me” page and some older posts
Left a comment on the pages of those who put forth the challenges
Learned that I need to offer the RSS feed via e-mail, I should post serial posts, and I should have a photo in my “about me” section.
Brought all of my social network profiles up to date
Got a second gravatar
Read some tips from the Blogging Tips group on the Book Blogs Ning
Wrote a rainy day opinion post
Read and commented on ten new blogs
Set up Google alerts to give me info. on who talks about me and my services, and when
Gave an elevator pitch about my blog
Got listed on two new blog search engines
Begged for a blogging friend–one possibility in the works
Learned how to anchor text
Read five articles from 27 Must Read Tips & Tutorials for Bloggers
Had my blog graded—got 67/100
Added my URLs to Delicious

I’m whacked. I think I’ve put in about twenty-six hours. Nap time now.:)

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Interview with Maria Snyder, NY Times List Author, part one May 21, 2009

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I had the amazing fortune of meeting New York Times Bestsellers List author, Maria Snyder, last week. We were both waiting patiently for more visitors at a school bookfair, and I took full advantage of the lull in activity by interviewing Maria. I have split the interview into two parts, as Maria gave me so much information that it would be an injustice to her (and you) to try and cram it all into one post.

What made you take up writing?
I didn’t always write, so boredom as a young adult was the main reason. I finished college in the early ’90s with a degree in environmental meteorology and then got a job as an air quality scientist. I did some field work and dealt with lawyers who wanted air permits, and it was all quite boring.

I decided to go to a writers’ conference on a whim. One of the offers of the conference was a critique of a short story, so I submitted one. When the lady handed it back to me, she told me that it needed some work, but it was “pretty good.” I wanted to know what “pretty good” really meant—did that mean a 5/10 or something else? She said that it was a 7/10. That encouraged me. If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t know if I ever would have started to write in earnest.

So what did you do after the conference?
I wrote short stories for three or four years. One of the short stories seemed to have more to it and, as I worked on it, it turned into the beginning of Poison Study.

I joined a writers’ group, which we later fondly called the “Muse and Schmooze” group. The ladies there told me that the story wasn’t too bad and promptly ripped it to shreds, but all nine of them were constructive in their critique. Every month I wrote and submitted a new chapter, and they helped me to polish and revise it. They acknowledged my abilities and gave me advice on how to make it even better. I didn’t use all of their advice, but most of it did enhance the book considerably. When you open the book to the page of acknowledgements, you’ll notice that I have named each one of the writers in the group. My appreciation of their input is huge.

How did you go about trying to get Poison Study published?
I submitted queries to forty agents, and all but one of them rejected it. The one agent who liked it asked me to make some changes, but when I sent it back to her with the changes in place, she was no longer interested in representing me. I then decided to send it directly to seventeen publishers. One of them said yes.

The editor assigned to me at that publishing house was very good at her job: she encouraged me to add in more description, to develop the characters more, and to build up the detail of the fantasy world. Her changes were perfect, because I tended to write in a very direct, action-focused way at the time, and she made my writing richer for it.

Are you still with that publishing house?
Yes. Originally, Poison Study was published by Harlequin’s Luna Books, but later they wanted Luna to represent an urban line of books, and they created Mira to be a fantasy “catch all” line. My recent books are with Mira.

I have written another book, though, called Storm Watcher: a middle grade book of mainstream fiction about a thirteen-year-old boy who is both fascinated with and scared of weather. It’s like a cross between City of Ember and Logan’s Run. I won’t publish it with Mira because of the genre, but it is tentatively scheduled to be released in the fall of 2009.

Part two of my interview with Maria Snyder coming soon.

If you would like to win a signed copy of Poison Study, the first book in the Poison, Fire, Magic Study trilogy, there are a few ways to get an entry in. You will get one entry for each of the following, as long as you send me a link to the proof here or via e-mail (inkmeister at inksnatcher.com):

1. Link to this interview (part one or two) from your blog
2. Link to Maria’s site (http://www.mariavsnyder.com/books/) from your blog
3. Blog about this contest
4. Send referrals, for any one of Maria’s books, to five friends (and have them e-mail me to say they got one)
4. Twitter/Facebook etc. about this contest
5. Comment here

Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, won the Salt Lake Co. Library’s Reader’s Choice award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, was nominated for four other awards, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly.

 

Writechat on Twitter April 26, 2009

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I was delighted to be part of a writers’ chat room this afternoon—Julie Isaac, of WritingSpiritResources.com, has begun a great way of using Twitter to benefit writers. From 1PM-3PM CST every Sunday, authors, literary agents and publishers join together (OK, so they’re mostly writers :)) to share information, answer each other’s questions, and encourage/spur one another on.

Sometimes, writers can feel alone, and they even wonder if their writing is any good (especially when their family is not interested in even reading a few lines). Being a part of something bigger than oneself has rewards all of its own—kind critiques, encouragement, a good kick now and then, and, best of all, friendships.

While writechat does not provide, in itself, that kind of community, most of the participants will then follow each Twitterer they parlayed with during the event, thus building Twitter’s writing community in a different way.

If you would like to be a part of the future writechat get togethers, follow WritingSpirit on Twitter. Also, to get the full benefit of Julie’s help, follow her blog: http://WritingSpirit.com, where she offers exclusive creativity/productivity writing tips, tools, and tutorials.

 

 
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