Authenticity

I recently followed Nancy Roman and find her observations echo my mine most of the time and thoroughly enjoy her posts. Back when I was her age (and I’m older than that now), my mother used to call those years “the youth of old age.” Do the 70’s still qualify as “the youth?” No matter how our parents or grandparents tried to instill some wisdom, it doesn’t seem to take until we reach these years. We finally get the “ah hah!” moment. You’ve heard it, “if I knew then what I know now”….”youth is wasted on the young.” I think her point is well taken, however, just enjoy the skin you’re in–now.

notquiteold

The older I get, the more I desire to be true to myself.

That can be a little tricky for women. We have so many faces.

I see my husband – and other men – who seem to have one role, one face. “This is who I am.” they say. And it is who they are all the time. At work, at home, with their buddies – basically the same guy.

But I see women who are mostly like me. We glide from one role to another. We morph and change situationally. Mom and sexpot. Business executive and daughter. Artist and Nurse. Diplomat and housekeeper. Sometimes all in the same day.

I want to be true to myself. But I’ve never been quite sure who that is.

As I get older though, I see that all my various Selves are merging. My multiple personalities are dwindling down. I’m more me.

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Making the Blog Work

To those of you who are casual spectators and come in to the blog to check the post and then check out, you may not have noticed anything different. For the keener observer, I hope you’ve noticed a few, perhaps subtle, changes. It started months ago when I noted it was time to step it up and make the blog work! FIRST–a change of theme!

That started a whole boatload of changes: blogging-university

1) Started with a class late last year.

2) Currently, there is a free WordPress Blogging University, Blogging 101 class–it’s like getting a writing prompt–and it opens the floodgates.

3) Reach out and touch someone–add to your web log. Examples: I’m enjoying Shanan Winters and her Interpreter of Inspiration blog. She has just published her first novel and has a lively blog–obviously having previously read and implemented all the wonderful “how to” articles I’ve been hitting. Ana Spoke has a very dynamic blog in which she just discovered “Face Swap Live“, a cell phone app that she used to promote her new book AND make a book trailer for “Shizzle, Inc.” Hilarious and way too much fun!

Get Back to the Basics Continue reading “Making the Blog Work”

Women Write More Blog Posts

In a report released by Nielsen in April 2012, the gender gap widens significantly when it comes to social media presence; specifically hosting and posting blogs.

The findings didn’t just indicate a specific difference in the propensity of women to blog, but in active social media presence in general, engaging in Facebook (no big surprise there) as well as Twitter. The subject has been the object of argument since blogs began. And as one blogger queried, “…the blogosphere covers more than just technology, does it have a gender?” Should we really assume men write tech, women write about social issues? (Or, are women writing the majority of blog posts–technological or not?) Perhaps it is time for a little poll of our own:

I loved the blog posted by Elizabeth on Goodreads in November of 2014 looking at whether or not men read men and women read women. Okay, okay, okay! But the argument is still: who is writing most blogs–today?

Women write to connect,

Men write to research, sell, and compete 

You can read those same thoughts on website after website, all showing beautiful graphics proving their points. Another blog posted January 2015 by Iris on BrandWatch also breaks it down to age and income. (Neil Patel posted the same stats and graphics in October 2014.)

It’s difficult to find a recent definitive answer. Perhaps you’d assume the stats haven’t changed that much. I’ll be adding additional polls from time to time and glean some up-to-date stats to post here later in the year. Hopefully, you’ve voted on the first!  ©2015 Virginia Williams

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Promotion Through Social Media

The Day 28 prompt is: How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps? Social Media

Since I’m currently using nine of the ten pictured in Laura’s example, I guess I’m not doing too badly. Probably won’t be doing Instagram and use several of the others to a more or lesser extent.

Really, I’m not sure whether the reach through these social media outlets is successful, though I do believe the name of Stanley McShane is getting out there.

Familiar with the term, “Jack of all trades, Master of none?” Guess that’d be me or more appropriately put, “Mistress of None.” I’ve taught myself Word (and a very old version at that), and opened accounts in Facebook as well as the other media platforms, but have only a basic knowledge; none of manipulation in any of those programs. I know the associated access of personal info by Facebook and try not to “give away the store”, though it’s obvious now that ANY information whatsoever can lead to further denigration of personal information.

Spoon-Feeding PublicI have a major problem with Google+ and given it’s greater participation on the “Richter” scale of social media standings should be doing more there, though it’s feared the same relinquishment of personal information as Facebook. I’m being blackmailed on a larger, more grander scale than ever before, and it’s all legal!!

Given all that–I’d love to be able to use both Facebook and Google+ to gain better name recognition and sales advantage. For that matter, I’ve barely tapped LinkedIn and Twitter. I’ve enrolled in an SEO class, but where are the classes in reversing the information highway through FB and Google+? I’m not interested in paying for ads (Social Security doesn’t allow for more than a few meds). I need common practices and tips that most under the age of 40 freely peruse.

I’ll continue to read, read, read–but the time to write is being consumed by the time required to read, interpret, and digest and I’m no longer blond. OH! The next step then would be the “how to” CD’s. Yes?

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Betwixt and Between Books-Freelancing

The Day 25 prompt is: If your goal is to sell books, you must view your book as a business. In what ways do you treat your book as a business? Where could you improve? What resources could you leverage to improve your book business?

Okay, the gig is up–I’ve been caught betwixt and between!

While the original goal of publishing my grandfather’s manuscripts was simply a means to share that inheritance with the other members of the family (his daughters now too old to care) and that side of the family also too few to provide any kind of significant remuneration, the promise I’d made was being fulfilled.

Since writing has always been something I enjoyed, and the collateral education (Word, graphics, semi-limited internet) also of major interest, flights of fancy took wing into realms of independent freelancing–providing commercial reward. In order to have enough time to go back to school for a few of those classes (Front Page, Photoshop, JavaScript), I had to quit my day job. No loss there. After 17 years with no particular reward, either monetary or personal gratification, it was not a difficult decision.

cameraWhat followed were years of non-compensatory writing–the clear definition of writing for fun. At some point, that style of writing was going to require my also taking photography classes and getting a bigger, badder, better, faster, more Camera on Biketechnical camera than the Minolta I’d been packing on my bike. And I couldn’t see where that would lead into a rewarding and high-paying second career.

Then the effort of publishing his manuscripts through Create Space steered me into a much more commercial enterprise. It was time to get serious about writing, as now sales were going to be the result of direct and concerted effort of marketing and promotion, which coincidentally requires a great deal of copywriting–for social media, web writing, content, and emails. In part, to that end, being a participant in an educational Meetup is well worth the time and an education in itself. Getting feet wet with a copywriting broker, albeit crappy pay, is another recent vehicle for learning the craft.

AH! I see where this is going! It’s that old ring-road!

Living is a life-long learning and educational process. I’m not in the middle of a new novel, but I’ll be writing–a lot. Therefore, I’ve enrolled in my local community college. There is always room for improvement and the business is growing.

See how other Author Blog Challenge participants are growing.

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No. 2 On The Fear List

DAY 24 PROMPT: Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.

No. 2 On The Fear List

Depending which list you’ve read lately, you can find fear of public speaking on all of them, arguably number 1 or 2. I’d always heard public speaking had a pretty good hold on #2, right behind death, and the first book signing could qualify.

There are those “innate” fears, the ones that are instinctive from birth that including falling (or heights) and loud noises. Then there are the fears we gain as we progress through life and associated experiences. One list of 3,000 people surveyed ranked public speaking as #1 and then according to rank percentage:

  1. Public speaking 2. Heights 3. Insects and bugs 4. Financial problems 5. Deep water 6. Sickness 7. Death (Huh?)

Behind the fear of public speaking, of course, are additional fears:

  • Fear of Being Noticeably Nervous
  • Defensive Thinking & Behavior
  • Loss of Confidence

Hastings Book SigningI prepared for my first book signing by researching the internet, reading as much as I could, and following all the advice that made sense to me including sending out all the notices to the local papers, notifying the social media, preparing hand-outs, creating business cards, postcards, and bookmarks. Additionally, I found a source for salt-water taffy. Checked with the Hastings book manager regarding what would be available and what additional supplies I’d need including tablecloth (clearly forgotten) and props or posters. Also, I supplied her with flyers to post on her windows announcing my book signing date.

Putting on a brave smile and emulating a Wal-Mart greeter, I was first they saw through the door and they were handed postcards and then an effort to engage–but showing no interest–backed off. It was when the local newspaper people showed up that I first started to unhinge and the resulting picture in the paper was embarrassing.

Selling one of the first books I published, “Cocos Island Treasure”, the potential buyer thumbed through and spot read. I mentioned Grandpa’s painting of the Bessie did not show the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gatewhereupon he pointed to the first sentence and asked if I changed his words. When I replied no, he read, “The schooner Bessie headed in through the Golden Gate at San Francisco……” Stammering out an incoherent reply, it was only later I remembered that the entrance to the bay had been called the Golden Gate long before the bridge was built.

As much as I’d toiled over the manuscript, the time spent gathering appropriate paintings, and feeling ready for meeting the public, found no come-back or simple explanation to his query. (Note the 2nd and 3rd item in the last list above.) You could probably add “Loss of Face” to that list, or is that understood?

The fourth time our little group performed Diana Ross and the Supreme’s (I was a “Supreme”), I began just having fun with it and the crowd, but I left being “Diana” to our beautiful and talented leader, Geneva, and never did learn to solo with my gospel group either.

I suspect it’s a gift; one I do not possess, and that I’ll leave to others.

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The Writing Process Begins With Discipline

Take us through your writing process. Do you keep a regular writing schedule? Do you write on your laptop or longhand? Are you most inspired in the morning, afternoon, evening, or middle of the night?

     Yes, there really is a writing process, although it took me some time to figure out that there really was a process. But I’m still working that out, tweaking as I go along. I’ve always loved games where you can change the rules on any given day to suit you–fortunately in my family I was the oldest and it was just too easy!

So the process isn’t just one of writing. Discipline actually has to be employed; not my favorite thing, but if there is going to be progress, discipline is necessary:Morning Me

  1. Writing means education never ends. It’s a review here, an article there, a story or observation. So much to read, information to glean, rules to learn.
  2. Book matter requires research: location, people, events.
  3. The marketing and promotion process likewise never ends. If you have a book out there, you have to be engaged in promotion. More reading.
  4. Allotment of time for social media, making the contacts, keeping a presence.
  5. Working on a new book? Allotment of time to devote just to writing.
  6. Working on editing? Allotment of time to proof, edit, ……..
  7. Working on graphics, pictures for the novel? Allotment of time for more research.
  8. Working on promotion materials? Bookmarks, postcards, flyers.
  9. Have the book(s) on several venues? Research new avenues–(i.e.) is Smashwords a good fit?
  10. Groomed or in the process of attaining beta readers?

Yes, there is a definite writing schedule though mine is not assigned to a specific hour. For me, writing is more of a general time allotment assigned in the above process, all done on a computer. Not a morning person, my day begins slow and easy so that’s when the reading is done, followed by the research. Diffused into the schedule, household duties. And always with a eye to a goal of the day.

Today’s goal–(1) prepare for a visit with our son–(2) prepare this blog post. Well, one off the list is a start!

Virginia Williams

AUTHOR COMMUNITIES-Do They Really Promote YOUR Book?

          Ezine Articles

         Once again, venturing out into the community to put a spin on the marketing of my grandfather’s books, I’ve discovered a local author support group they call the Idaho Author Community.

It amazes me how apparently mystical guidance has led me from publishing several of his manuscripts to marketing and promotion in the public sector when the initial purpose of the first publication was merely to distribute the work to his heirs. That proverbial snowball has led to even more open portals which were there all along and available by simple participation. I think at one point the gentle nudge on my back was felt–propelling me through the first door, into the second, and now the third–an author community–which may be the most enlightening of all.

Comprised of all ages, both sexes (not unsurprisingly, women pen prose just as well as men), and across all genres, this support group is a happy, homogenous surprise to a life long realist–this [..→] shy of being a pessimist. Does participation in an author community spark competition conflict? Or does the participation force an increase in those most needed exposures where a normally reticent introvert would never tread? Keep Reading!