Serene and Social

 

Once upon a time, I got frustrated with waiting too long and paying too much…

so I figured out how to build my own website. And, while I can’t always make it do exactly what I want it to? Most days I come pretty close.

Once upon a time, I got frustrated with waiting too long and paying too much... Click To Tweet

The other day I got to help a fellow author launch his blog and, through more trial and error than I had hoped for, we got it up and running. Apparently, if I’m going to remember how to do these things, I’m going to have to use some of the skills more often.

The other thing that complicates this particular learning curve? App developers keep making things better and, generally speaking, this is a good thing… except when I only know one way to do something and the ability to update it has expired. Pfft.

This point was driven home earlier this week when I realized that only my old parenting posts were working their way over to my Facebook page. I guess that’s OK… but I’ve been writing about other topics and wanted to share those posts, too.

Long story short? Evidently, it worked. So, instead of the usual “test post” I decided to celebrate with a picture taken at our former home in New Hampshire. I’m not sure my friend Nancy believed me when I told her we used to live “smack in the middle of nowhere.”

I decided to celebrate with a photo taken from our former home... smack in the middle of nowhere! Click To Tweet

Please enjoy a post celebrating the serenity I feel every time something technical goes well. And providing photographic evidence for my friend the meticulous researcher and award-winning author? That’s just a bonus.

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Never Made the Oprah Show

She laughed at me

Several years back, at a publishing conference, I had an opportunity to speak with some industry veterans.  One was gracious enough to take a quick look at the marketing plan I was working on. I was encouraged… until she laughed. My inner critic went a little bit nuts. I wanted to crawl under some furniture or run from the room.

Fortunately, she noticed and said, “I like you. You may be the only author in America whose plan does not include the words ‘Get on Oprah’s show.'”

[Tweet “You may be the only author in America who’s not trying to get on an Oprah show.”]

I know why so many people wanted to do that: marketing an indie book can be h*ll on wheels. Granted, some of this is as a result of self-inflicted wounds caused by lack of feedback from beta readers, editing, and proofreading. But even excellent work has a hard time getting through the avalanche of media and promotional material readers see every single day.

My Inner Critic is up to no good

Personally? I need to take a closer look at the role of my inner critic in all of this. While I’m able to harness her powerful warnings to complete writing projects, she’s still pretty shrieky when it comes to self-promotion. (“Get your ego in check!” “It’s not polite to talk about yourself.”) She has gotten a little sneakier and has a New Age-y approach as well: “Stop bothering people. If they’re meant to find you, they will.”

Thank goodness for readers and other writers who help share about our books, our blogs, our events and our news. You are truly a gift.

[Tweet “Thank goodness for readers and other authors who share.”]

And, if you’d like to be part of that giant online support group but don’t know where to start? Here are two small actions that are a huge help.

Reviews. Especially on Amazon and GoodReads. They don’t have to be long to be meaningful. “The author presents helpful information with a light touch.” Or, “I found the story captivating.” Expert tip: If you are personally acquainted with the author please don’t mention that in your review. It’s a red flag for “fake review” and could cause problems for the author. BIG problems. Also, if you’re a relative… especially one with the same name? DON’T POST A REVIEW. (See previous example.)

Facebook page likes and engagement. Have you ever seen the “invite friends to like page” feature on the right-hand side of your computer screen? If you “like” an author (or any page) your friends are more likely to follow suit — if you ask them to. And once on a page? Participate. Comment on and share posts.

You rock. We love you

Genuine interaction helps get attention for our work, keeps authors motivated, and lets the inner critic of self-promotion know it’s OK to go somewhere and take a nap!

What’s your favorite way to help amplify an author’s message? (Please share in the comments section. Every little bit helps!)

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Still struggling with your Inner Critic? Click to download 3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Your Inner Critic and find out what about something you can do instead.

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Healthy Eating: Writing Prompt

Healthy Eating: Writing Prompt

Sometimes we use deadlines as an excuse to ignore our usual health and fitness routines. Late nights. Junk food. Caffeine overload.

Health isn’t always about what you’re eating. Sometimes it’s about what’s eating you.

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Giving Away Golf Clubs

Giving Away Golf Clubs

What if you had a beautiful gift to give away?

Let’s pretend it’s a brand new set of golf clubs. Instead of “going viral,” you have the feeling people are avoiding you like a contagious illness… like the flu. It’s  around us, every day, in e-mail blasts, Facebook posts, and tweets; since I follow a bunch of some a few authors, I call it the “buy my book bug.”

Some authors post about their topics, their writing process, their pets, their partners, their projects and their progress. I love reading their stuff. I feel connected to them, and, because of that, I enjoy their success. When they post about a new release, event, or sale? I gladly retweet it or share it on my page. There’s a relationship.

There’s a Relationship

Then there are the others. I “like” or “follow” someone new, hoping to find out about them and enjoy some good, fresh content. But, instead, I get the automatic, one-size-fits-all private message “inviting” me to connect with them (and see the identical content) somewhere else. Ugh. (I solved it by eliminating DMs (direct messages) from my Twitter account — so, if you’re a friend and I haven’t gotten back to you now you know why.)

The second group doesn’t get it: social media is not for selling. It’s for creating and developing relationships. And, as Bob Burg says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

Social media is not for selling. Click To Tweet

I’ve taught social media basics to authors and other small business owners for a while. It breaks my heart to tell them, “Nobody cares about your _______ (book, restaurant, service, store or product).” I feel like I kicked a puppy, even when I tell them it’s not personal: most people don’t care about mine, either.

What do people care about online? The same things they care about in real life: themselves, their families and their own lives.

So why should authors and small business owners have an online presence? That’s where our readers are. Part of our job is to make it easy for them to find us. Another part is to let them know we care about their lives, too. Writing, tweeting or posting on Facebook… it can’t “be about” you.

What about those golf clubs?

A lot of people would be thrilled to get a brand new set of golf clubs for their next big occasion. I’m not one of them. I don’t play golf and have torn both rotator cuffs; my chances of becoming a regular, happy golfer are pretty slim. If you offered me golf clubs I’d know you don’t know me well…  But, if you kept trying to give me golf clubs? I’d start to wonder what was wrong with you.

There's nothing wrong with you; I appreciate your generosity Click To Tweet

There’s nothing wrong with you; in fact, I appreciate your generosity. There’s nothing wrong with golf clubs, either. They’re just not something I want or need right now.

And, if you stop trying to give me golf clubs and, instead, try to find out what I DO want? I’m a lot more likely to stick around… and share your message with the golfers in my life.

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Jacksonville Library Book Festival

Jacksonville Library Book Festival

Nancy and Andrea were fortunate to have been chosen to exhibit at the inaugural Jacksonville Library Book Festival in 2017.

On a beautiful Saturday in March, 150 local and national authors spread out in hallways and balconies in Jacksonville’s spectacular main library. The event was well-organized and the library staff was warm and efficient as they checked in authors, helped us find our spaces, and get the tables set up. They even checked on us from time-to-time during the day.

And, like almost any multi-author event, we met some wonderful people — both readers and other writers.

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Love and.... the Inner Critic

Love and…. the Inner Critic

How’s your self-love level? If you’ve struggled to love and approve of yourself, chances are you’ve created a list of personal qualities you like, love or approve of.  They may be physical: eyes, smile, height, weight, physical conditioning. Or, perhaps they’re spiritual or emotional qualities that influence the way you move through the world. It’s easy to love your loyalty, your compassion, or your enthusiasm, but what about the rest of you? What about your talent? Your writing or other creative endeavors?

How's your self-love level? Click To Tweet

Sometimes making (or even reading) those lists can make us cringe, bringing up concerns about being “stuck up,” selfish, or self-centered. Those thoughts can make it difficult to stay enthusiastic about your list… especially the ones that tell us we’re imposters or talentless hacks. That’s when we really need to send some love to that inner editor.

What is healthy self-love? It requires a level of honesty and humility that allows us to see and accept our positive traits and the ones we don’t enjoy so much. We’ve learned that some of our yuckier traits can be an invitation to grow and change, an idea that works pretty well… until we bump into that critical voice inside. You know, the one that tells us we’re somehow less than others? The Inner Critic. The Inner Editor. The Bully in Your Brain. Yeah. That one.

What is healthy self-love? Click To Tweet

 

That’s when we start zooming around the web, reading up on the most popular Inner Critic management techniques: coach after coach, author after author offering tips and tactics to silence that inner voice. Get rid of it, kill it off, once and for all.

And, if you’ve followed that advice, you’ve probably had yet another interesting discovery: with most those strategies is, if they work at all, it’s not for long, is it? Efforts to silence the Inner Critic simply bring it back, stronger than it was before.

So what’s the answer? What does it take to get that voice to behave? Love. Unconditional love and radical self-acceptance. Excellent self-care. Support from trusted friends.

It’s true. As much as that naggy voice doesn’t feel good? It’s an important part of us, an inner warning system. To get to a comfortable level of self-love and self-acceptance means we’ve got to find a way to love that voice, too.

 

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Forgetting and Remembering: Writing Prompt

Forgetting and Remembering: Writing Prompt

 

When someone dies, you don’t get over it by forgetting; you get over it by remembering, and you are aware that no person is ever truly lost or gone once they have been in our life and loved us, as we have loved them. ~ Leslie Marmon Silko

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Story With the inFRINGEment on Top?

Story With the inFRINGEment on Top?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist the awful pun. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with classic musical theatre — we’ll let you stay. And this title refers to the song Surrey with the Fringe on top from Oklahoma.) But we digress.

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In Do I Need a Copyright? we talked about some of the basic definitions. In this post, we take a look at some other definitions and resources for members who want more information.

Infringement. If you feel someone has infringed on your work, in other words, has used it and claimed it as their own work, it is treated the same as theft. If the theft can be established in court, the court can award damages and attorney fees.

Fair use. This can be tricky. As a journalist, I can quote a person or a creative work in an article, news story or review. But if I do so in a commercial work such as a book or screenplay, it might be infringement. Fair use depends upon the purpose and character of use and the effect on the market for the original work. In Reid’s example, when Woody Allen was charged with infringement on the work of William Faulkner (Midnight in Paris vs. Requiem for a Nun) the court’s decision was that Faulkner’s work was “transformed” enough so that it became original in Woody Allen’s. The key, Reid said, is that it is “transformative.”

A picture of another work. If you take a photograph or screen shot of an artist’s painting or any creative work, the work is still not yours. It is considered a “derivative work” of the original and is protected under copyright.

Libel in fiction. If you write about a living person, it is not libel unless you make a  “false and defamatory statement of fact ” about an identifiable living person or business entity. And you can’t libel a deceased person, but you can run into trouble if your story reflects badly on a living relative of that person.

Name brands in fiction. As long as you do not show or write about real brands in a way that reflects badly on the companies who manufacture them, you are probably okay because it is like free advertising for the brand.

Song lyrics in fiction. This is considered particularly risky because music producers and distributors can be very aggressive about protecting rights. Your work may be seen as an infringement or a derivative. You can use lyrics in the public domain, or contact the publisher for permission. You can find the name and contact information for the music publisher by looking at the sheet music for the song.

Here are two great websites that have additional, valuable copyright information for authors:

 

Mark Fowler

http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2010/12/can-i-mention-brand-name-products-in-my.html  

 

 

Helen Sedwick

How to Use Lyrics Without Paying a Fortune or a Lawyer