Planning

Starting an Author Platform Pt. 7: Why an Author Book Club Can Help

It’s been several weeks since I wrote about this series. However, I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while so I thought I’d address it today.

A book club for authors (as well as readers) can be a valuable piece of a writing platform that is often over-looked. The club can provide many resources for a writer. First I’ll share from the experiences I’ve had with my own club membership with Rave Reviews Book Club and then I’ll address things which you should consider before joining any such club/organization.

Here are a number of benefits AgreementI’ve found important as a member of a book club:

1. It’s largely a community of supportive authors interested in promoting each other from the strength of a group. This is very important since Rave Reviews Book Club now has over six hundred member. What I share over social media is vastly amplified. One of the upcoming changes with RRBC is an internet radio network which is important for learning to interview (you can learn from listening as well as being a guest). But also, your writing brand can be amplified in another venue that can generate sales for authors.

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2. Reviews can be tough to find, especially for new authors who are self-published. With my group membership, I’ve received a number of helpful, honest reviews that I likely wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

3. Information is readily shared about a number of topics. I can ask for thoughts on anything from marketing/promotions to writing technique and get willing answers that are helpful and timely.

RRBC Logo4. Perhaps this goes with number one, but the encouragement is invaluable. I now have relationships with other authors who offer cheerful words, inspiration and gracious assistance. Also, accomplishments are celebrated which is keeps are lonely writer’s spirits afloat when writing gets tough.

5. I get to help other writers which is far more important than it seems. In this digital age, tooting someone else’s horn is important to networking and spreading your writing brand further.

Those are just a few of the useful benefits I’ve received from my book club membership as an author. But what are some of the caveats? Know what the club expectations are. I have to do 4 reviews from the club catalog per year (and I still have a few left to do). There are other club rules about the usage of the club’s monikers on the internet. You should be prepared to spend some time participating in some sort of support for fellow authors so your efforts will be reciprocated. Be aware of expected behavior with other club members – it’s good to hone your professionalism for when you are dealing with the public. You need to learn to give thoughtful, honest reviews. Lastly, be aware that there’s a monetary cost for membership and what you put into your membership with your actions is what you get out of it.

I’ve put as much as I can into my own membership and received a great deal back from my very helpful fellow members. So take some time and consider being a member of an author’s book club. Be careful with your choice and gauge whether any club is valid as well as what time you can commit to the requirements. Take time to understand what benefits you can expect from the club. There are any number of clubs and organizations that legitimately helpful to authors so investigate them and choose based on your needs.

The Black Bag by P H SolomonHave you considered joining some sort of an author’s organization? What benefits would you look for in a club? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Lost Your Scratchpad? Here It Is In Scrivener!

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

If you read this blog very much then you know I like finding and figuring out how to use the various tools and settings in Scrivener so I can write more efficiently. I also like to share these usage tips so other authors also benefit from Scrivener . With that in mind, I’m sharing another tool in Scrivener that you may not know about: the Scratchpad.

Scriv Scratchpad

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First let’s find out how to open this tool. Click on Tools and then on Scratchpad (from the keyboard that’s CTR + Shift + 0 (that the numerical zero not the letter O).

Opening Scratchpad gives you this basic window.

Scriv Scratch Pad

But what’s the purpose of this tool? If you use the Inspector you may already use the Document Notes to add various details to a document in progress. But Scratchpad is just what is sounds like – that scratchpad you keep by your computer and take ad hoc notes. Guess what? Scratchpad in Scrivener acts the same way but you can do more like send it directly to a project that you currently have open.

So here’s how it goes – say you are like me and have several projects open. I might be journaling or revising or whatever and a stray thought hits me about something else I’ve got open. This happens to me especially while I’m journaling. I might write the thought down in my journal and there it stays until I want to put it in the appropriate project. Then I have to go searching through my journal trying to remember what day I wrote the note. The same thing happens with that scratchpad by your computer.

With the Scrivener Scratchpad you can just open it and put the note there. If you have the project open that relates to the note you can send it to that project. Here’s how – at the bottom-center of the Scratchpad is the “Send file to Scrivener” button. Click on this and you are shown all the projects you have open. From there you get a series of fly-out menus that allows you to drill as far down as necessary in your project and send the note to the chosen location. There are 2 choices – sending the note to the location you choose or appending the text to the location you choose. In other words it will either copy the note directly to the chosen location or place the content directly in that location.

Scriv Scratchpad CopyHow does that work? I just wrote an example note and sent the copy to this post in my Blogs 2015 project. It creates a sub-document to the document in which the text is located. No more lost notes, now it’s in a specific location.

When I choose to append, it puts the text at the very end of the document. This is handy for something like what I was doing last night and should have used the Scratchpad for instead of bouncing around between projects to do. I had placed some notes in my journal about my novella, What Is Needed, regarding a change to the ending. I could have easily used Scratchpad to write that ending and, as long as the project was open, append that content to What Is Needed.

Scriv Scratchpad Appended

You can write in a document while the Scratchpad is open so if you work on a large screen or multiple montiors you can drag it around and leave it open. Also, there’s a feature to print contents of your screen and save it or even choose part of a document to print to screen like this:

Scriv Scratchpad Printscreen

So Scrivener’s Scretchpad is a simple tool for making notes and inserting them into documents or making screenshots that you can save or insert as a note somewhere else. It’s a handy tool I plan to use more often. Since you can use the keyword to turn it on quickly, you can use the same keyboard command to close it so you can toggle in and out of Scratchpad as needed. Give it a try and see what you can do to better track your odd notes, ideas and such and then insert them as necessary into other projects.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyDo you often lose track of your notes either on paper or in Scrivener? If you use Scratchpad, how do you make use of it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Scrivener Templates and Project Management Pt. 5: Book Reviews

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Scrivener has been a key component to improving my productivity this year. I’ve recently written about various uses for Scrivener such as blog posts, newsletters and even template email messages. Additionally, I’ve shared about using Scrivener templates including some resources for these. In my last post I shared about managing templates. In Part 4 I released my Author Platform Management template. A few posts pastin this series I indicated how I’ll use Scrivener more in the coming year. In my most recent edition I revealed how I’ll approach my increased usage. Today, I’ll reveal a new template and I’m planning another how-to post next week as well as another addition to the Author Platform Management template.

I recently had a Twitter conversation with V. Walker who read how I’m using Scrivener more this year. She expressed her interest in the software with a retweet. I noticed that she was, among several things, a reviewer.

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What ensued was a short conversation about how she might use Scrivener – as a reviewer. I hadn’t thought of it previously but what another great way to make use of this software. Some people do short reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. But some people review more seriously than others. The Binder is a great way to manage numerous reviews.

Screenshot: Book Review Template

Screenshot: Book Review Template

Imagine reviewing lots of books but being confused as to what you’ve done already. With Scrivener you could easily track them and schedule your reviews. What an improvement over individual files if you used a single project for each year.

Well that gave me another idea for a template – reviews. It works much like those for newsletters or blogs but I’ve added some specifics that I imagine serious reviewers might need. I’ve include a rudimentary binder organization and a calendar of schedules as well as tracking. Again, it’s free to download. Feel free to make your own suggestions and I’ll be happy to update and share a newer version.

What other ways can you think of using Scrivener? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Also, in no way do I represent Scrivener or sell the product. All questions about the product, its sales, support and licensing for your own computing needs should be referred to the company.