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# Showcase

# Showcase for Authors and ReadersUniting Authors and Readers with #’s

Most of us who use Twitter are familiar with using #’s.  If not, I’ll give you a quick rundown. When you post something on Twitter that has a common topic of interest to others, you include a “#” in front of the key word. Your post will then be included with all the other posts that include that particular “#”. You can then search for that topic (ex. #AuthorPage) and a whole stream of posts of that topic will result.  It is a very useful tool for reaching and meeting new people on twitter.

Did you know Facebook is now utilizing the # search as well?

This opens a whole new avenue of connections for Authors and Readers to meet. A simple search in the Facebook search box using a # will give you a list of every post that includes the topic you are searching for. Let’s face it, Authors and Readers are struggling to navigate their way through the constant influx of new material being published every day. But we can make things much easier by utilizing free tools already available to us all.

Introducing “# Showcase” for Authors and Readers

Authors – Showcase your various pages and profiles on the appointed day of the week. You will be included in lists that will be seen by people wold-wide.

Readers – Are you tired of not being able to find a good book to read because all you hear about is the latest blockbusters.  With the “# Showcase”, you can now find a directory of current Authors and Books straight from your Twitter and Facebook profiles.  Simply search for the day’s appointed # and you will find a wealth of current authors and books from a wide variety of genres.

Help us spread the word and make these lists as amazing as they can possible be. For more information, visit http://authorstephanielaws.com/hashtag-days.html You will also find links that will take you directly to the lists for each day.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in My Writing Journey

 

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New Direction

New DirectionI’m taking a new direction for my blog!

Since I began this blog a year ago, my posts have been primarily focused on the technical aspects of being a writer. But it is now time to transition from being a “writer” to the role of being an “author”. I have written books, now it is time to put the focus on them. But don’t worry, I’m not leaving my fellow authors behind.  Most of you that have subscribed to my blog are authors, and you came here in the hopes of learning more about your craft. I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am for each and everyone of you and how much I value your comments and encouragement. All of my posts that pertain to the craft of writing are still here and are now categorized in a section called “For Authors”.  You will find the link above in my blog menu.  I hope to continue to add to that section as I learn and gain more experience. I’m not giving up on it, I am only creating a new course for my blog to venture into. It is my hopes that you will find inspiration from this venture to carry your career down the path of success as I seek my own.

So you are asking what is the big deal?

You simply cannot survive as an author if you remain trapped in elementary stages of your career. Your readers do not want to read about how frustrating it is edit and convert your manuscript in order to make it available to them. They want to know the inspiration behind the story they have fallen in love with. They want to know about the creative mind that wrote a story that pulled them into the story and held them captive to the very end. When you publish a book, you are no longer a writer learning the craft.  You are an Author that has crafted a piece of art, and it is time to  share your masterpiece with the world.

Ok, I’m getting a little dramatic. But in all honesty, if you are not wholeheartedly in love and entirely devoted to your book(s), then why should anyone else be? You must give the results of all of your hard work the attention it deserves, and that is my goal from this point forward.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in My Writing Journey

 

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Video

Self-Publishing Inspirational Story

This is one of those dream come true stories we all strive for.  I love hearing these stories.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50149678n

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in My Writing Journey

 

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The Writer’s Trip

tripOne the things that sets a true writer apart from all the rest is the ability to make the most mundane of actions absolutely enthralling. Actions are not just steps, they are key components to a puzzle that must be present or the story falls apart. The difficult part is determining whether or not every component is necessary to complete the puzzle or if it is a spare piece you just threw in the box.

Editing your story is one of the most difficult processes you will face.We all want to make our stories perfect and correct the mistakes we made, but when it comes to deleting portions, it often feels like we are cutting out pieces of the heart of the story. One of the things that I have learned is that the heart of the story is something that must be felt, not dictated.  We are writing about human emotions. Emotions are not something we force, they are a result of an event. There are certain times when you do not need to say how a character is feeling simply because it is a natural response that anyone with a heart can relate to. Everyone knows that when someone dies, those that love them are devastated. Unless your character is overjoyed by the death, allow the reader to experience the event in their head rather than tell them what to feel.

It is our job as the writer to make sure the true emotions of each event are understood, but we must never forget that a good story draws people in and makes them feel like they are part of it. We must allow them to feel the words we want to write, but don’t need to write them because the reader is already emotionally involved and feeling them through their own experience. When your readers can feel the unwritten words, they want to know how the character moves on. They don’t want to read what they are already clearly feeling. Don’t trip on the things that your editor or Beta Readers say are unnecessary.  It simply means that you have already set the stage perfectly and they are feeling everything you want them to feel.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in My Writing Journey

 

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I Gotta Have That!

540142_157555827729997_1669858254_nDo you ever see an advertisement and suddenly find yourself screaming inside, “I gotta have that!” I saw this picture on Facebook. I have no idea what company or website issued it, but each time I look at it, I can see how these things would be so handy to have. In fact, I first saw this picture months ago, and my interest in it is no less now than it was when I first saw it. In this day in age, we are flooded with advertisements. If you are a member of Pinterest then you have no doubt seen thousands of pictures, every day, just like this, all with the intention of gaining exposure to new products intended to bring ease and simplicity to your life. I have seen so many, that I will be honest and tell you that I rarely even pay attention to them. So what is it about this picture that has piqued my interest so much to make it memorable?

As writers, in a world full of Authors flooding the Ebook market daily, we find ourselves in a very similar position. Book descriptions are no longer being read as they once were. Before the digital age, people would take the time to read the book description, simply because they took the time and effort to pull the book off of a shelf. It would be a waste not to. But things are very different now. You can compare it to television commercials. People are recording programs so that they have the ability to fast forward through the commercials. It isn’t just a matter of convenience to watch the program when they have the time. People don’t want to waste time on the things they are not interested in. When they are flooded with thousands of products that are similar, all at once, they zone out. They walk away, they click away, they change the channel or the radio station. We are living in a world where “on demand” is the name of the game, and if your product doesn’t make people stop and take notice, then you’re lost in the flood, soaring down river, praying for something to grasp and hold onto before you sink away to oblivion.

This world is changing so quickly, that it is virtually impossible to keep up. But one thing is obvious, Ebooks are not going away. The self-publishing market continues to grow in resources and popularity. Not just for writers, but people looking for good books to read.  Before, the Ebook world was a jungle that people easily got lost in. It was too different, and growing at such a rate that it boggled the mind. But now road maps are being designed to help readers understand the terrain. As writers, we must learn what resources are being used and utilize those resources to their fullest capacity.

The picture above piqued my interest because it is relevant to me. I see how those items could benefit me by simplifying my life. We must learn to do this very same thing when marketing our books. There are so many books available, we must prove why our particular books are worth the time and effort to purchase and read. We must be willing to continually evolve our marketing strategies so that we remain relevant. I can remember the first time I saw a book trailer on TV. It was new and out of the box. We must continually think out of the box and do the things that demand attention in this world of “on demand” lifestyles. Just imagine what it would be like to have people searching for your books because they have seen the cover of your book floating around and they just have to know more about it. We have to start evolving.  The same old, same old, is just a pile of rubbish waiting to collapse on top of you.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in My Writing Journey

 

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Image

Help Your Favorite Indie Authors

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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Infromative Charts

 

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Time for Contemplation

I Want to Be A Writer Series

thinking

Reaching the end of your story is one of the greatest accomplishments in your life. Do not belittle this moment by bypassing and not allowing yourself to enjoy it. Many people begin with the intentions of reaching this point and give up. I have read the beginning of many books, written by potential writers that have more skill than I could ever dream of possessing, but they have yet to finish the first book. The art of writing requires more than just skill in grammar and descriptive phrases that leave you salivating for more. You must be able to see the whole story through to the end, and that takes a very special skill. It requires endurance, courage, and determination, the very things that cannot be taught, and yet, people spend their entire lives striving to reach that point. Soak every ounce of joy out of this moment. You will need it to push you through the next process of agony, publication.

My intention of writing this series was to give a little insight into what is necessary to be a writer. I will not go into the depths of the publication process in this series. But I will give a little bit of advice on the next few steps you must take in order to prepare your manuscript for that process.

Right now, you have a very raw manuscript. It is filled with spelling and grammar errors. Do not ever expect the spell and grammar checker on your word processor to catch all of your errors. Yet, do yourself, and the person you are asking to help edit your book, a favor, and use it to catch what it can. Aside from those errors, you are going to find holes that need to be filled to give your story more meat, or spots that are overflowing with too much detail that must be removed in order to keep your story flowing smoothly. This is what most authors refer to as the “hacking process”. Stephen King has referred to the editing process as “killing your babies” because no author wants to hack out what they have worked so hard to write. The editing process requires you to take on a whole new perception of your story. You are no longer the writer, you are now the reader that must determine what is absolutely necessary for your story, and what is nothing more than a little fat that needs to be removed. At this point, the cost of publishing your book begins to take precedence, because no one wants to spend money on the unnecessary garbage. The more words, the higher the cost of publishing. The more it costs to publish the book, the more you must charge to sell it. It becomes a very tedious process in which you must weigh the importance of every word you have written. Too much garbage can destroy a book, but not enough meat can ruin it as well. You are the author, only you can determine what the final result will be. But don’t worry. You will go through so many editing processes, you will practically have every word memorized by the time the book is published. If you are self-publishing, then do yourself a favor and be sure to use Beta Readers to assure that your book is ready for publication.

Another hurdle you will have to tackle is summarizing what your book is about. If you are seeking a publisher, then you must learn how to write a query letter. A query letter is one of the most important things you will write, because what is in the query summary, is often used as the summary that is placed on the back cover or inside jacket of your published book. In one or two short paragraphs, you must not only clearly describe what your story is about, but this is also where the readers will gain their first insight into what your writing style is. You have very little room to sell your book and you must take advantage of every word you write. It is absolutely vital that you research and learn everything you possibly can about query letters.

There are many ways of researching. You will find a treasure trove of knowledge already online. But there are other means of researching that are just as valuable. Networking and learning from other authors is vital.  Join writing groups and ask those that have experience to read what you have written. Take every opportunity you can, and learn as much about this process as you can.  This is something you will have to do for every book you write in the future and you can never know enough.

Author Anna Silver wrote a great post about an event she participated in that helped her tremendously in learning how to write a strong query letter. Thinking out of the box as she did will often give you more opportunities to rise above what everyone else is doing. You now have a product to sell and it’s time to put on a whole new thinking cap. But no matter what happens from this point forward, you are a writer that has written a book. You have risen above and achieved what you only thought was a dream. Congratulations!

 

Previous Post in the Series “Time for Closure”

 

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in IWTBAW Series

 

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