About My Quasi-Digital Sabbatical…

I had thought about taking a quasi-digital sabbatical during the month of September, just so I could focus better (without interruptions) on my writing. Well, I’m going to have to take a one-year sabbatical from that kind of sabbatical, because today I was appointed the Publicity Director for LDStorymakers and it’s imperative that I stay very hooked in and online.

There is no way I could fulfill these new responsibilities without email, blogging, web design, tweeting, you name it! Wish me luck. And if any Storymaker out there would like to serve on my committee (I’m already blessed to have two–Marion Jensen and Deanne Blackhurst)…and if they’ll allow me to have more help…you’re more than welcome!

Originally posted 2010-08-31 19:26:45.

I’m no Sally Field, but…

I don’t know how many of you were even watching the Oscars back in 1984 when Sally Field, upon winning her second statuette, couldn’t help herself and blurted out “…you like me, right now you like me…”

It was a moment that either touched you or made you squirm, depending on your reading of 1) her sincerity or 2) her “uncoolness.” I mean, it’s not cool to draw attention to yourself, is it?

But that’s what we’re asked to do today as authors. Writers (with the exceptions of Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal) are usually shy, retiring types, content to hide behind the written word. (I know I am, anyway.) They want their writing to be discovered, not themselves. But these days we have to get out there and meet and greet people, introduce ourselves online, in bookstores, libraries, even at the local Costco or Walmart.

We can no longer hide behind our characters or make do with an interview here or there. We have to share our souls, as well as our faces, on our websites, blogs, on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, our Amazon Author Page, you name it. It seems as if ten new online sites spring up every week, trying to convince you that if you don’t register with them, you’ll be left behind in cyberspace.

And after going through the initiation into Google Friend Connect, may I just say that now I fully understand the sentiment Ms. Field tried to convey years ago. Thank you to all those who joined my site.

I tried to look up Google Friend Connect etiquette, wondering if I was supposed to respond individually to each of you whose faces now share that little box with mine. I couldn’t find anything about it. (However, I did come across a goldmine of a post regarding the etiquette of socializing on Twitter…Heard of socialoomph.com? More about that tomorrow.)

So, if I’ve messed up somehow by not separately contacting each of you, please let me know (email would be a lot less humiliating than a comment below) and I will. But, for now, thank you all. Everybody wants to have friends, to be liked. Sally Field understood that. And I do, too.

Originally posted 2010-05-18 14:57:28.

I’m Ready for Review (I Think)

Once you add Google Friend Connect to your website, you feel absolutely naked online. It’s as if you’re alone in a vast wilderness. Hello? Can anyone hear me?

I decided tonight that I would throw all caution to the wind and invite all 600+ Facebook friends to check out the new website, leave some comments, and…hopefully…keep me company in that bare area of white space under “Followers” in the side bar.

Of course, I realize that most of my acquaintances aren’t checking out Facebook right now. After all, it’s FHE night. So all you ACS alumni–now’s the time to show some support, okay? I’m hoping that by tomorrow morning I’ll get a few hits and a few Google Friends. (I guess I’d better send out a few emails as insurance.)

Anyway, I’m still working on getting my book trailer embedded on the home page, as well as a few other images. But please feel free to tell me what works and what doesn’t. The Bio’s too long, isn’t it? And I know I need to post a couple of sample chapters from The Reckoning and my newly finished manuscript, Laps. I have a ton of links that still need to be added, plus some poetry. But I’d welcome comments on the Baghdad photos in the meantime. Should I add photos of Greece or Lebanon?

This is still very much a work in progress, so put your two cents in now.

Originally posted 2010-05-17 20:52:43.

Living Online

Over the past three days, I believe I have spent 20+ hours working on rebuilding my website, all at the expense of my family and my writing. I realize that, these days, an author needs to be concerned with “platform,” but what’s the point of a platform (in this case, online presence) if you spend so much time building it that you lose focus on your most important roles…not marketing yourself, but being who you are first and foremost–a writer.

Where is that delicate balancing point in my daily routine between the craft and the salesmanship? I believe it’s time to pull out my notes from the Northwest Writers Retreat last October and review Marsha Ward’s counsel.

In the meantime, I’m giving myself till the end of the day on Tuesday to add all the content I can to my website (with, or without, images on the home page). If any of you out there have any answers as to how to size your images correctly so as to fit them in a widget in the side bar (using HTML code, I believe)…PLEASE get in touch with me by email. Or even leave a comment here.

After Tuesday, I’m doing a final polish on Laps (taking into account the feedback I’ve gotten), taking a few deep breaths, and sending out my first batch of queries by Friday. It’s time I got offline and started living again!

Originally posted 2010-05-16 19:54:12.

Keeping My Head Down

Present Wordcount of Current WIP: 17,196

While fellow authors are discussing e-rights, submission processes, marketing ploys, etc., I’ve decided that the best thing I can do right now is to keep my head down and continue to churn out 1,000+ words a day. So far, so good. And as I’ve pushed myself to increase volume, my story has taken on interesting twists. I love the creative process that takes over as I let my fingers fly.

This is not to say that I’m unaware of the importance of online presence and platform. I particularly appreciated 5 big ideas for writers put forth by Seth Godin in an email I got today from his Domino Project.

I’ll post more in detail about his advice on Friday.

Originally posted 2012-01-09 19:53:49.

Marketing a Must

One of the things I realized coming back from this writer’s conference was that I can’t afford to sit on my heels with my website, blog, and social media accounts. Sara Megibow made it very clear that even if she likes your writing she won’t take you on unless you’re already acting like a professional. I can see her point. I’ve been on Facebook and LinkedIn for years, and I’ve blogged off and on for years, as well. I created my first website back in 2008 and then updated it this past year. I’ve also had a Twitter account for a couple of years, but now I’m determined to get comfortable tweeting and doing a whole lot more on the marketing end. I may only have one book out, but it’s a pretty good book (if I do say so myself) and it’s about time a lot more people knew about it.

My first purchase after the conference was this book: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. You can bet I’m going to be up late nights devouring its pages.

Originally posted 2011-05-12 12:49:14.

I’m Back!

You probably thought I’d died or got lost while climbing Mt. Ranier (Hah! With my knees, I can’t even hike up Badger Mountain behind my house and it’s not really a mountain…more like an elevated hill.)…or…was secretly off on some remote location for the next episode of “Survivor.”

After all, why would a writer stop blogging for three months? Other than my shoulder surgery and recovery, the main reason is this.

It only took about a month (and the help of a very web tech-savvy friend) to get the new Storymakers website up and running, but it’s taken another two to get little things ironed out and get comfortable enough with the routine of site maintenance so that I’m ready to delegate much of it to my committee members.

Just in time, too, because I’m hoping to meet up with all of them at the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference next week in Salt Lake City. There, I can sit down with them and show them the ropes (if they haven’t yet figured it out from my way-too-dense instructional email).

By the way, if you’re a Storymaker and planning on attending, please don’t miss the Meet and Greet on Thursday, May 5th at 8 pm in the hotel. Not only will you be able to meet and socialize with fellow Storymakers and begin to put faces to names, but you’ll get:

  • an introduction to the Board of Directors and its various responsibilities (so that you might be more inclined to volunteer your services for certain positions, such as mine…hint, hint)
  • a brief demonstration of the new site…AND
  • a chance to be interviewed (bring a copy of your latest book, even if it’s 5+ years old) for future placement in the Featured Video section of the website’s home page.

The conference should be awesome and I can’t wait to meet a ton of fellow writers, plus agents, editors, and publishers. (I’m pitching to Sara Megibow with Nelson Literary Agency.)

In any case, no more excuses. I promise to check in at least twice a week from here on out (since I don’t foresee any other website creation in my future).

Originally posted 2011-04-26 09:24:43.