Month: March 2015

Starting An Author Platform Pt. 5: A Social Media Primer

Businessman Speaking Through Megaphone

This is ongoing series for newer writers interested in developing their writing brand. The previous posts included a general overview, branding through domain registration, branding through email and building your website.

Not to be obvious but if you are building an author platform you need social media accounts. Not only that, but you don’t need to be a wallflower. While you are interested in growth, what social media you choose first is important. You can’t adequately build your social media presence by spreading yourself too thin so you can’t maximize your efforts. But where should you start?

Twitter is your most important channel. Due the its nature as a fast moving social media outlet, Twitter can fuel much of your social media growth. This fact makes it a great avenue to attract visitors to your other social media channels, your website/blog and your content. Without being pushy or overbearing, you can regularly gain followers with consistent engagement.

Your next most important social media venue as a writer is Goodreads. If you’re a writer and not on Goodreads you are missing out – the social media channel for readers. Even if you don’t have a book published it’s the place to be to interact with readers who can become your best advocates. But by interacting I don’t me pushing your books, rather connect with other readers via groups (following their posted rules) and discuss other books. Find out the best practices for being a author on Goodreads and enjoy other readers opinions.

Social Media Icons

The next most important social media channel is up to you, the author. What genre you write dictates what your next account is. For instance, the best channel for speculative fiction is Google+. For more information check out this blog post by my fellow Rave Reviews Book Club member, Nicholas Rossis about what social media formats mesh best with which genres.

Definitely consider Pinterest at some point. The visual nature of Pinterest is wonderful for displaying your covers and related artwork. Additionally, you can post any fan-art you receive to better interact with your readers.

Lastly, if you are taking your time building a website, make sure to go ahead and engage on social media now. The sooner you gain followers the better off you will be when it comes time to actually market your work. But always remember, give more than you take and you won’t turn people off. And above all, make sure your accounts reflect your writing brand consistently.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

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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Project Management For Writers Pt. 9: The Priority Trap

CalendarLast month I sent my book, The Bow of Destiny, to my editor for a structural edit. I expected the book to be out of my hands for about thirty days. This meant it was a perfect time to work on the next book in the series, An Arrow Against the Wind, as well as some of my short fiction projects.

I set a schedule to complete the rough draft of the second book and got started. I also began a hefty overhaul of a short story that was a very rough draft. I worked into a balance with these projects after weighting their priority according to my available time.

By the time I was in a steady rhythm with these projects I had accomplished a great deal. I had written several chapters in the second book and revised the short story into a cohesive draft. I expected to finish the rough draft of An Arrow Against the Wind by the time The Bow of Destiny came back from the editor.

WritingBut to my surprise, the editor returned the manuscript several weeks ahead of schedule. There was good news as she far fewer structural issues than previously so the book is rounding into shape. I just needed to address these structural issues and be ready for the next round of detailed editing.

But now I was faced with problem. Should I finish the rough draft on which I was working or pivot to edit the manuscript in progress. I had allotted time to complete An Arrow Against the Wind but I also needed to have The Bow of Destiny ready for the editorial schedule. What should I do?

This question stopped me cold for a few days while I weighed the options. I thoroughly enjoyed writing like I was on book 2. However, the first manuscript needs to be completed.

Dueling priorities had me trapped. The quandary had to be examined. I took a serious look at An Arrow Against the Wind. I knew there would need to be some structural changes to the manuscript. I decided to go ahead and do these to find out how much writing was still needed to complete the rough draft. In the end, I found that I needed much more than I originally thought. I could still write higher word totals each day and finish the draft by the deadline.

Puzzle Pieces.jpgNext, I considered all that needed to be addressed on the first manuscript. I started a fluid schedule to determine when I could finish the changes and be ready for the editorial schedule. I found that I would be well ahead of the schedule.

In the end, I’ve chosen to complete the edits for The Bow of Destiny. It needs to be completed first and be ready for the editor’s schedule. This weighed much more to me than the second manuscript. The advantage to completing the editing was that I would have the manuscript waiting for the editor and I could already have pivoted back to completing the rough draft of the next book, even have that completed.

The take-away here is that you can make a solid schedule but circumstances change. A project schedule should be fluid enough to allow for shifts in priority. Learning to be flexible with your schedule is necessary to managing projects – and for me these books are parts of a larger project. How you prioritize your projects is up to you but flexibility may be necessary.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat unexpected events have you encountered that required changes to your schedule? How have you adapted to circumstances to move in a different direction while still accomplishing your over-arching goals? 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 via Microsoft Office

Project Management for Writers Pt. 8: Schedule & Productivity

TypingIt’s been a while since I wrote about project management. I recently had some thoughts about the subject and wanted to share some tips for better project management and productivity.

1. If you often find that you’re unable to focus this could mean that you’ve got a lot on your plate and just can’t get it organized in your mind well enough to be productive. You know how you open tabs on your web browser and then open more? Sometimes you may even have some open for a long time. Your browsing and your computer might slow down as a result. The same thing happens with your mind – too many mental tabs are open – work to get them closed by organizing your day.

2.Daily goals and schedule – use a schedule to know how and when something will be dealt with – otherwise you can flounder under the uncertainty. What needs to be done gets mentally assigned time, place, function, etc so that you can eliminate uncertainty. Now you may notice your mind some spinning and getting nowhere – you’ve just planned how to go about your work.

3. Follow the schedule as much as possible. There will be need for changes so be willing to be flexible. But follow the schedule as best you can and start closing those mental tabs. Clear these and productivity improves. You’ll find that you’re getting more accomplished by addressing all the items on your mental list. The importance part is that you get them out of your mind and scheduled so you can work on them.

4. How this works on a long-term schedule – this type of schedule doesn’t change as much nor does it require quite as much management. I might set goals/deadlines for some writing projects but this can – and does – get adjusted due to intervening events. However, my managing your daily schedule and goals well you may find that your bigger plans are more on target and you start closing those bigger tabs with greater regularity.

Want to be more productive but find yourself distracted with a reasonable schedule? Try working in a space that’s tidy. Avoid the internet while working – there are several tools you can use to help discipline your activity. Don’t research during your writing time – do it beforehand. Make sure you get enough sleep – being too tired means it’s harder to focus and writing takes lots of mental acuity.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

How do you address issues of productivity? What do you find important with scheduling your day? 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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