It Takes 3 Book Cover Theresa King

Interview with “It Takes 3” Author Theresa King

1. Why do I write? I write because I enjoy it, the process of pen to paper is relaxing.

2. What books did you love growing up? I loved the old bedtime book, hardy boys and the classic story’s like Black Beauty, Gulliver’s travels and such

3. What book should everybody read at least once? Gulliver’s travels, it’s a great book about bravery, over coming and acceptance.

4. Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you live now? I grew up in the projects of Detroit Michigan; it was a tough life, back then. Today I live in a beautiful part of Southern California, its quiet, beautiful and most of all its home.

5. How did you develop your writing? I just write, it usually begins with some kind of experience or feeling.

6. Where do you get your inspiration from? I love to write about life’s experiences, I’ve journaled for as long as I can remember, I’ve written poetry for family and friends but I always thought about writing a novel.

7. What is the hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? For me it was the editing process, getting all those thoughts and words condensed into a story that flowed well and made sense.

8. What marketing works for you? I’ve just really started getting into the marketing end of things, but so far social media has been good, I’ve met a lot of interesting people online.

9. Do you find it hard to share your work? Yes! Its really hard, I’ve been lucky so far, no one has had a negative thing to say, praise has been really difficult to accept, maybe even more difficult than negativity.

10. Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? Most of my family has been awesome, my oldest daughter of course, she was the inspiration and the one who told me than I could do this. Some people have been a bit negative, but they seem negative about a lot of things. All of my friends kept asking how it was going, I’m not sure if they actually thought this would come to fruition, but they asked and helped keep me focused and on task.

11. Do you plan to publish more books? Yes, I’m actually working on one now.

12. What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be fulltime… I am blessed to be married to a wonderfully successful man; I’m also at an age where my needs are few. The kids are all out of the house, doing their own thing, so I have time to pursue my own interest and desires. I have the flexibility to learn and try new things.

13. How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? I do all of these, as well as on the patio or in my family room in the lounge chair, it just depends on the time of day, mood or weather. I have many options.

14. Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? There are a lot of people but mostly my husband; he gives me everything in order for me to follow my creative passions and of course my daughter Kristina. A long long time ago I had mentioned that someday I wanted to write a novel, she told me about a dream she had and I mentioned that it would make a good book and here I am….

15. Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? I think I have found my success; being published is a great accomplishment. I write because I enjoy it, I know that I was lucky to get published, but to hear that others are enjoying my work, now… that’s success.

Visit Theresa’s Website here for more info!

Fiction Writing Contests 2014

Fiction Writing Contests 2014

You’ve published your new book…now what? If you’ve checked out my last few posts dedicated to online marketing, you’ve presumably set up a healthy social media following on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Maybe you’ve even connected and/or hobnobbed with authors outside of the online marketing sphere via Eventbrite events or Meet-up groups. Now it’s time to consider other strategies to promote your book, namely fiction writing contests.

Fiction writing contests or writing contests in general are incredible ways to get your book in front of industry professionals with little to no financial commitment. Some contests even offer reviews to accompany an entry. With my research thus far, contests seem to take place during three parts of the year December-March, January-April, and then May-December.

Here are few fiction writing contests to look into for this year:

1) Global eBook Awards, Deadline: 4/30/14
2) Reader’s Favorite, Deadline: 5/1/14
3) Book Works, Deadline: 12/31/14
4) E-Lit Awards, Deadline: 1/31/15
5) New York Book Festival, Deadline: 5/25/14
6) San Francisco Book Festival, Deadline: 4/25/14
7) Hollywood Book Festival, Deadline: 6/25/14
8) Paris Book Festival, Deadline: 4/25/14

Make sure to submit your novel-length works and share with friends who also love to write!

How to Use Facebook Create Fanpage

Getting Social with Social Media Part III

Friending Facebook

Guest post by Megan Cyrulewski

If you’re like me, you are right in between the generation that has no idea how to use Facebook or other social media outlets and the generation who only speaks in social media acronyms. (Just laugh. Don’t say you are LOLing.) When I was offered a contract for my book, one of the conditions was that I create my own website and social media pages. Up to that point, I only had a Facebook page. I had heard about LinkedIn, was scared of Twitter and never heard of Tumblr. Since I was already on Facebook, I decided to tackle that social media site first. Luckily, creating a Facebook page for your business or brand is not as scary as it might seem.

First things first: Who are you? Why are you creating a Facebook business page? Do you have your own business? Are you an author? Figure out who you are. Then go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Choose who you are from one of the following groups:

• Local business or place
• Artist, band, or public figure
• Company, organization, or institution
• Entertainment
• Brand or product
• Cause of community

How To Use Facebook Fanpage InfoThen start entering your basic business information. You will have to put in your address but you can choose to keep that information private. After you have read the Facebook Terms and Conditions (or just click the agree box like we all do) you are ready to get started.

Choose a photograph that represents yourself and/or your business. But make sure that the photograph is interesting enough so that people will want to “click” on it. For example, I first used a picture of myself. I didn’t really get a lot of visitors. Then, I used a picture of my daughter. (I have no shame, I know.) It worked! And since my memoir is about my daughter, the picture tied into my page.

After you choose your picture, right up a little blurb about your page. What is the message you want to get across in two sentences or less because that’s about all of the attention span you are going to get from visitors. As a side note make sure to include valid keywords so you’ll register in Google search engine results pages (SERPs). If your blurb sounds appealing, people will inevitably “like” your page. If not, they won’t. The more “likes” you get, the more people know about you. The more people know about you, the more they share your posts. And it goes on and on.

What is different on your business page than your personal page is that you have an admin panel. This shows a bunch of statistics that you will not understand for about the first month. It’s okay. All you need to do is keep sharing your page wherever you can. Ask your friends to share your business page on their Facebook pages. If new people like your page, ask them to share it on their page. Send out an e-mail to all of your friends and contacts with a link to your page. People don’t have to be your “friend,” they just have to click on “like” and that’s it!

Advertising is a great way to get your page out to the masses, but be very careful about the terms of the agreement. You can set a budget if you want to advertise. For example, I set a budget of $100 to advertise for a week. I ended up getting some likes out of it. I think it’s definitely worth it once in a while, but the choice is up to you. Mainly, I just kept bugging my friends until they shared my author page on their pages. They’re your friends for a reason, right?

How to Use Facebook Boost PostFinally, make sure to post frequently; images are more likely to attract “likes” compared to paragraphs of text—but we knew this! If you’re an author, consider tapping into Pinterest’s database to find free images to share, like author quotes or DIY book projects. In fact, the images you select don’t have to be 100% related to your page, they just have to make contextual sense. Let’s say, for example, you’re marketing your new book, instead of posting ads day-in and day-out on how awesome your new manuscript is and how others should buy it (a surefire way for people to “unlike” your page), post something funny to get people to laugh. Once you get people to engage by “liking” or “sharing,” you are automatically improving your stats which in turns improves your visibility in others’ Facebook newsfeed. Don’t be afraid to use Facebook’s “Boost post” tool either, exclusive to fan pages. Set a budget and according to how much you want to spend, Facebook will make sure your post reaches a certain amount of people that day. It’s a great way to gain more “likes” with as little as $5.

Read more from Megan by checking out her website here or following her on twitter @MeganCyrulewski

LinkedIn-Dominant

Getting Social with Social Media: Part I

How to Navigate LinkedIn

It came to my attention today, after attending Tammy Bleck’s (aka Witty Woman Writing) workshop on social media, that there is an obvious age gap when it comes to utilizing online social marketing tools. Being the only youngster in the crowd–and I use that term loosely–I came expecting to further my social media knowledge in the realm of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and Pinterest.

Though the course served more as a quick and helpful refresher, what I did learn was that not everyone is on the same page as I am when it comes down to this stuff.

I would casually watch multiple audience members huff and puff when they didn’t quite get how to navigate a certain feature such as the “share” button or fully understand what a “timeline” referred to, both terms native to Facebook. This was the verbiage that I had grown up with!

Hopefully with a bit of extra help, I too can help you pick up some of the basics when it comes to setting up various social media accounts for your business, product, services or even personal use.

We’ll start with LinkedIn, a business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) platform. With a résumé style template, this profile is ideal for job seekers, business owners, and larger companies. Of course LinkedIn is not exclusive to the latter mentioned, it’s available for anyone who’s inclined to promote themselves and the skills they offer, as well as those interested in making connections in a particular industry.

Here’s a list of things you need to do when setting up a solid profile:

LinkedIn-Profile-Example1) Include a professional photo.
2) Adjust your headline to reflect your current occupation or career path.
3) Create a brief, as well as catchy summary of your professional experience under “Background.” You can also include a link to your website and portfolio in this section.
4) List your experience in bullet format (think of this as your virtual résumé).
5) Request recommendations from friends. Just like back in the old days when you were applying for college and needed multiple recommendations, this tool allows previous co-workers and colleagues to write glowing reviews about your skills.

The tips above will not only help you promote your business successfully if you are an entrepreneur, LinkedIn is also one of the top places where recruiters now look to hire. Having a professional network will enable companies to breeze through your résumé, portfolio, and recommendations with no fuss, and ultimately contact you if you meet their hiring needs.

Once you have the basics down on LinkedIn, feel free to join groups and post in your newsfeed to make connections. To join a group, simply search in the top navigation bar for any area of interest you’re pursuing and voila, a list of groups will populate. Once you’re approved to join by the group’s moderator, feel free to post and share things in order to build up your level of participation (LinkedIn actually measures this for you, which will be visible on the right side of your screen when you click inside a group) and ultimately network.

When it comes to posting in your newsfeed, you can do this from your home page. In the “Share An Update” text box at the top of the page, post article updates from popular news sources like the NY Times, Yahoo, Reddit, etc. or share messages of your own such as job updates, quotes, or even links and photos to your blog. Clicking on the paper clip in that same text box will allow you to attach an image if you wish. Or if you are sharing a link, an image will automatically populate.

Share An Update on LinkedIn by clicking in text box on your homepage.
To review everything that you have posted, located on the homepage in the top right corner under the paper clip, you will spot an “All Updates” feature in black text. Simply click that to review, edit, or delete what you have posted.

Once you have mastered the ins and outs of LinkedIn, you can use this robust social networking tool to meet professionals in your industry of choice as well as market your talents.

Tips on Advertising For Your First Book

 

Lauren Conrad's 'Fame Game' Book Signing in Boston, Massachusetts

Though my book launch date is behind me, advertising for my novel The Willow Tree will always be an ongoing project.

Before the big day, I researched and crafted a blueprint for which markets I was going to hit and how, and I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned when it comes to advertising for your first book:

The first plan of attack is to launch multiple campaigns at least 2-3 months before your release. Start with major networking sites. Once you come up with a solid budget, create a pay-per-click ad on Google and set up smaller ventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads (I would forgo LinkedIn). With my spending allotment set somewhere between $5-10/ day varying on traffic visibility from each site, I set in motion a speedy plan of attack for whom I was going to target and with what visuals. Thus far, Google and Twitter have been the most rewarding. I’ve seen a drastic increase in Twitter followers in a 3 month window–I’m talking 80 followers to 800! I have ditched the ongoing Facebook campaign, though you do have the option to boost select posts via Facebook, which may be a more practical alternative.

Next, step outside of social media and buy advertisements directly. The two sites that I absolutely love for advertising are Blog Ads and Fiverr. Blog Ads is a traditional site where you scout web pages relevant to a topic of choice, check ad space availability, and pay an upfront fee in exchange for a certain period of time in which your ad is visible. What’s helpful is that this site provides analytics. Fiverr, on the other hand, involves a middle man. You find a person who has a blog or book promotion site and dish out anywhere between $5-$40 (making this the most affordable option), and let them go to work. What’s great is that you can easily weed out crummy sites from credible ones by browsing reviews.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of word of mouth! List the organizations that you’ve previously been affiliated with and that have “What Are You Doing Now?” contact options. This could be a study abroad program, university, prestigious academic clubs, or Greek organizations. Even reach out to your employer and ask for a small promo in the companywide newsletter or landlord to see if you can post fliers around your apartment complex.

Using a combination of the above tactics can help set the wheels in motion for a successful book campaign and ultimately more book sells! Most importantly don’t forget to network.

 

Are You A First Time Author?

First Time Author Tips

Going through the process of writing your first book and ultimately publishing it is admittedly one of the scariest and most exhilarating for first time authors.

This is of course the first hurdle all published authors must surpass, no matter how grueling it may seem.

As a soon-to-be first time author with my book launch quickly approaching, I would love to share with you some tips I’ve learned in these past few months when it comes to advertising, networking, and gaining traction for your book as I have with mine.

There are many tips and tricks you’ll read that’s out there. For me, this blog is more of a way to help you streamline your process and hopefully learn from my errors.

So here’s where we’ll start when it comes to first time author tips: Make LinkedIn your best friend! Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. I’ve come across many people, from university students to business owners, who have not learned how to harness the full power of LinkedIn. Similar to Facebook, connect with colleagues and peers, except on a professional level.

To get set up on LinkedIn, begin by establishing a profile: include appropriate key words for search engines, a link to your book’s website, personal interests, and of course a photo. Make sure your headline is also appropriately optimized with key words so other authors can easily find you in the LinkedIn database.

Once you’ve established your profile, start researching which groups you want to join. Each group will have a range of skilled pros who’ve published numerous books and newbies who are learning just as you are. This mix makes for interesting discussions.

When you’ve created a substantial lists of groups you’re interested in, make sure to read the group rules–something I learned the hard way–and then ultimately decide if you will benefit from being a member. After you’ve sent your requests to join and are accepted, make sure to contribute at least once weekly (though the more the better) to each group. This will ultimately help lead people back to your LinkedIn profile and then to your website.

There are two ways to participate in LinekdIn groups: 1) Comment on various posts, respectfully of course and 2) Start your own discussions. The latter may seem like the scariest.

When starting discussions, choose topics with which others will want to engage. This is where you switch out your “author hat” so to speak, and transition to a social media role.

Now before you shy away, here’s all you have to do: be yourself when you post! That sounds a little loaded, but it’s really just that simple.

One of my first contributions to various author groups was an honest question: Createspace Vs. Smashwords? Little did I know that this simple inquiry would lead to hundreds of responses where other group members would contribute questions of their own. This simple thread went on for weeks! In case you’re wondering what the difference is, Createspace if for paperbacks, KDP Amazon is for Kindle ebooks, and Smashwords covers other ebook platforms like the Nook or iPad.

Even posting tips in writing groups can be a plus, showing members that you’re willing to share knowledge freely for the benefit of others. I’ve had multiple group members reach out to me privately for more tips and in return they’ve shared what they have learned as well. This sets up great one-on-one networking, in addition to group networking, a win-win-win for everyone!

That’s it for tips this week. Here are a few writing groups that I’m part of that are worth checking out:

Affilated Authors

Authors/Writers Helping Authors/Writers

Author Platform Building 101

Book Marketing