Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun Facts

Happy Friday!!

Fun Fact #1: I have a "first kiss" excerpt up at Coffee Time Romance - check it out!

Fun Fact #2: I'll be holding a Hero Worship Contest over at my Facebook Fan Page from February 11-18, and the winner will receive their choice of any ebook or audio book. All you have to do is "like" me there to find out more...

And Fun Fact#3: If you're looking for a reasonably priced, professional web designer, try Glass Slipper Web Design. She has an expansive portfolio to look through and works with all budgets. She's been my web designer from the start, and I've been nothing but happy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writers' Wednesday: The Influence of Charles Dickens

I read an article in Time magazine yesterday about Charles Dickens, and why he was and is such a popular author. Interesting: he was one of the earliest authors who really wrote for his audience, who understood what it took to make a connection with readers and who tailored his stories and his characters to what he thought people wanted (and later in his career, messages he wanted to send about the world he was living in). Really interesting stuff. Of course, he was the master of serialized fiction, and he made a career out of writing stories with chapters that end in cliff-hangers, with plotlines that continually move forward and characters we always want to know more about.

I can't say I have a favorite by him (I did take a Dickens seminar in college, where we had to read a book a week by him...yikes...), though I do like the very traditional A Christmas Carol and the less-traditional Bleak House (great characters, and great commentary on society getting caught up in business at the expense of the individual).

But Dickens knew what to do as a writer - connecting with readers is so valuable, and yet some authors definitely do it better than others. Social media does help in this respect, I think. Even those writers who aren't particularly comfortable talking with people in person, face to face, can do so on the safety of the computer in arenas like Facebook and blogs and chat groups and such. I think readers like the sense that an author listens to their opinions and cares about what they have to say about the world.

Charles Dickens. Huh. Never pegged him as a visionary, but guess what? Maybe we can all take a cue from him. Can you picture his Facebook page? Status update: Wrote 500 words today. Time for a new quill pen...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Mentionables: A Word About Promo

I've probably mentioned this before, but VistaPrint is a GREAT site for any of your promotional goodies. I've used them for bookmarks, signs, postcards, and more. Great quality and really good prices - even better since they usually email you discounts after you've ordered from them. Check it out if you haven't yet!

Always take advantage of the chance to guest blog or do interviews at the various writer-reader websites out there. Many of those are free, and all you have to do is contact the site or blog owner. If you belong to (or join) a discussion group/loop, you'll often know about opportunities before the general reading & writing public, too. There are sites that will set up these kinds of blogging/online appearances for you, too, but they often charge, so keep your eyes open for FREE chances as well.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of making personal connections with potential readers. There are so many ways to do this, from responding to comments on a social media site, to taking advantage of in-person meetings, book signings or conferences etc., to joining a writers' or reviewers' group to donating your books to giveaways or auctions. People love connecting with writers - people love connecting with others in general, since we're social creatures - so take advantage of it!

Bottom line: there are many, many inexpensive, or free ways of promoting your name. And oftne, all it takes is a little time. Good luck!