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Posts tagged with: Networking

WE ARE ONE

NOTE: This blog might seem like a me blog but there are important lessons to learn.

If you would ask any of my elementary, junior high or high school classmates, or teachers for that matter, to describe in one word what I was like in school, you’d probably hear the words quiet, nice, shy, friendly, helpful. I was the person who got along with everyone; Nerds, Jocks, Wall-flowers, Artists, etc. etc. Everyone seemed to include me in their groups, but I always stood on the fringe of their social troupe.

At that time, girls like me graduated and went to work in the mills, or became secretaries, nurses, store clerks, waitresses, teachers or housewives. I didn’t long to be any of those things. I wanted to be a writer. Fortunately, my school had a newspaper so there was a possibly that I might try on the dream, but remember I was shy. Of all the groups I mentioned above, the wall-flowers were my groupies. Then something happened. My parents said, if you want a car you need to get a job to pay for the gas, repairs and insurance. This was the inciting incident that changed my future.

I did get a job, through my aunt, as a waitress. Now waitresses are not shy people. They can be quiet, but being friendly and open earns you much better tips and believe me I learned that lesson fast.  And the next year, I joined the school newspaper staff and even managed to ruffle some feathers with one of my articles. (If you read my current bio, you’ve read that trouble is my middle name. I believable this when it all started.)

Jumping forward; I remain a wall-flower of sorts whenever I enter a new situation. My stomach is still a bag of nerves. I still tend to pick a corner away from the action and scope out the happening playing out in front of me.  I still watch the people who walk in the door with their heads held high, flashing smiles, and who jump right into the conversations of others and I wonder how the hell they became that way.

I remember walking into my first writer’s meeting and first writer’s conference feeling a nervous wreck. But then I remembered my first day working as a waitress, and how nervous I was. Then I recalled the more confident person I’d become when I left that job to go college. It took steps to become that person. They were hard steps to take but the rewards were so great.

Over the years through my careers as a mom, professional volunteer (25 years in the elementary PTO plus other orgs.), national restaurant chain area supervisor, a corporate secretary, and as a writer, I’ve amassed a huge number of friends. I count a number of my writer friends among my most dearest. My Ruby sisters and my sisters of the Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers (past and present) and others, have helped me through the darkest hours of my life after losing my husband to cancer and then my father a year later the same way. It was because of these relationships that I was forced to look up from the dark hole of depression and see the light of hope. Hope that joy could still be found in life.

Writing has always given me joy, but being a writer and having the gumption to step into uncomfortable situations and meet new people has been a blessing. So, you introverts who are heading off to RWA National next week, good for you for taking that step. If you’re thinking of going to a meeting, workshop or conference, do it. Keep my story in mind and start a conversation with other wallflowers. Start your own gang. Introduce yourself to others while in line or sitting next to someone in a workshop. Exchange business cards, like them on FB or tweeter immediately, join a newsletter or two of those authors who impressed you.  Most of all, be you. Be genuine. And have fun!

 

LAST DAY TO PREORDER!

 

Autumn Jordon is award-winning sneaker wearing Ruby. She writes both romantic suspense/mystery and contemporary romance filled with attitude and laughs. In fact, her fourth release in a Perfect Love Series, Perfect Fall, releases tomorrow July 18, 2017. Preorder today at a special price. She’d love to have you join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com

Triberr – A Quick Guide

So what is this Triberr people keep talking about? How does it work, and, more importantly, do I have to dress in animal pelts and coif my hair with chicken bones if I join?

Let’s break down Triberr into easy digestible chunks, shall we.

First, what exactly is Triberr? In short, Triberr is a reach multiplier. Huh? What does that mean? Triberr is a community of bloggers who also double has pimps, or marketing tools. These bloggers band together in tribes and share blog posts. When one tribe member posts a blog, the blog is tweeted through Twitter by all the other tribe members.

What is a tribe? No, it’s not drinking the Kool-aid. Tribes are collaborative groups of bloggers that often have a commonality. In our case, that might be writers and reviewers. Groups might consist of cliques for a more narrow target market, such as authors who write historical, erotica, thriller, etc. Tribe mates in these classification specific units share quality, relevant content and networking, and often provide guest posting opportunities.

How does it work? Triberr easily manages this through the RSS feeds (every blog had one). Triberr automagically imports blog posts into the tribal stream (much like a Twitter stream or Facebook wall) which is shared by all tribe mates. Tribe mates then share these posts with their Twitter followers, either manually or automatically.

I’ll give you an example. Say I write a fascinating post on Caribbean pirates. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume I have 10 tribe mates. My one post is tweeted 10 times. Now think about how many Twitter followers each of my mates might have. Also think about how many people integrate their Twitter accounts with other social media networks like Facebook. The number of possible exposure grows exponentially. And what if you belong to more than one tribe? Whoa! Now that’s driving traffic to your site.

*Image provided by Getty*

Let’s one-up that. Every tribe mate can reblog your post. Reblogging through Triberr offers extra incentives. Let’s go back to my pirate post. Tribe mate Johnny thinks my post is pretty awesome. He reblogs it on his blog, putting my article in front of a new audience. Any comments made to the post on Johnny’s blog will show up on mine as well. And if tribe mate Orlando also reblogs  my post to his site, any comments made there will appear on both mine and Johnny’s blog.  In other words there is no loss of engagement.  This is good for all involved. It’s like guest posting. Less work and more interactions. Wow. I’m all over that!

Triberr is a community of engagement, and it’s growing. There are forums called bonfires for tribe members to ask questions, get tech support, network, and more.

Tribe members also collect bones. No Triberr is not conducting secret cannibalistic rituals. Bones are the equivalent to currency. Bones are earned through activity on the site and they are spent on benefits to bloggers and to creating more tribes.

But why use Triberr? Here’s the important part. When invited to join Triberr, you become a part of an instant community. Not only are you connecting with like-minded bloggers, you are expanding your potential readership sweep. It’s share and share alike. Your post gets distributed. Tribe mates are sharing good relevant content to their followers. And followers are exposed to you. Your blog traffic grows. For authors, pffsh, it’s a no brainer.

Triberr is always improving, too. Soon the network will be integrating social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Can you just imagine the potential reach? Get your ooga mooga primitive groove on and check it out.

Triberr.com/

 

Pitching 101

In just a few short weeks, many of us will be in the Big Apple, taking advantage of all that the City has to offer. And one of the biggest advantages of having the RWA National Conference in NYC is the proximity to industry professionals. Unlike most years, when publishing houses have to limit which editors they send due to financial constraints, not having to worry about airfare or hotel costs can make a big difference in deciding who attends. Houses can send many — or all — of their editors to RWA. And this means more editors to pitch!

As I indicated in my previous post on preparing for the conference, don’t despair if you couldn’t snag a pitch appointment with the editor or agent of your choice. Plenty of opportunities exist for pitching outside of the traditional route…and often those on-the-spot pitches can be more effective.

The #1 rule that you must remember when pitching is that nobody has ever sold a book on the basis of their pitch alone. Well, I can’t definitively state that, since obviously there is an exception to every rule. But I’ve never heard of anyone who ever has, unless they were already a Big Name. (And really, in that case, they didn’t actually sell because of the pitch but because of who they were — they’d already built a reputation for great writing.) Ultimately, it’s your writing that must stand on its own, not your pitch.

Does that mean that pitching isn’t important? No, I didn’t say that. Any opportunity that you have to get in front of an agent or editor and tell them about your book is a precious one, and should never be wasted. The pitch can open doors for you and earn you the opportunity to submit. But it’s not going to make or break your career.

Think of the pitch as an in-person query letter…only with much better shoes. 😉 You have a short period of time to get the industry pro to decide whether to request the work or pass. Make the moment memorable by crafting a series of brief, targeted talking points about your book.

A good pitch starts with a single sentence, known as a logline or hook. Prepare one or two additional sentence-long talking points about your project based on the book’s synopsis. That’s it. Yes, the pitch appointments are scheduled for ten-minute slots, and you very well might end up using that entire time to chat (about the market, the imprint’s plans for expansion, the agency’s needs, etc) or maybe the industry pro might be so intrigued by your book that SHE wants to talk about it the entire time, but your job is to make your pitch as brief and concise as possible. Get right to the point, and move on.

The pitch is NOT a retelling of the whole story. It is a brief statement depicting the core idea of your book. When you’re competing against hundreds of other writers, a well-crafted pitch can help your chances of connecting with a potential agent or publisher.

Every pitch should contain the following info:

  • Main characters (hero/heroine)
  • Core conflict/plot
  • Differentiating factor (what sets your book apart from all the other Western-space opera-inspirational-YA-mysteries out there?)
  • Setting and subgenre, if relavant
  • Word count (you need to be in the right ballpark for the genre)

That’s it. No more, no less.

Now how do we get there? Why don’t we analyze a sample logline, and see how it’s done? This is the summary of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, as printed on the copyright page at the front of the book:

 “In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control though an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.”

Let’s run through those elements:

  1. The main character is Katniss, who is 16 years old.
  2. The main conflict is that Katniss must compete for her survival against other teens.
  3. The story is different because of the idea of children fighting each other as a means of entertainment.
  4. The setting is a futuristic dystopian North America.

OK, so it didn’t give the word count. But I happen to think word count is important because it ties directly into marketability. There are some houses that will do super-long or super short, but in general, you are trying to make your book look as easy to place as possible. Just use a ballpark figure. You don’t have to say your book is 88,267 words. Call it 90K.

Let’s do another one. In fact, it’s another YA. Yes, I’m shameless. We’re going to look at my own pitch for Codename: Dancer. 😉

When someone starts sabotaging a dance contest reality show being filmed on the campus of a performing arts boarding school, aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak sets out to solve the case before her 15 minutes of fame are over before she hits age 15. It’s like “Nancy Drew in toe shoes” in this light-hearted 50,000-word tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Young Adult Romance.”

Running through the elements, we now know:

  1. The main character is Dani, who is not yet 15 years old.
  2. The main conflict is that Dani must figure out who is sabotaging the dance show.
  3. The story is different because it combines dancing with mystery, and it was nominated for a Golden Heart.
  4. The setting is a reality TV show being filmed at a performing arts boarding school.
  5. The book is on the short side, but perfectly appropriate for the younger YA crowd.

Now, I lucked out with that “Nancy Drew in toe shoes” analogy. (Although my original pitch used “Veronica Mars meets Dancing with the Stars” but I was advised to remove that since it’s been a few years since Veronica Mars went off the air.) Not everyone can do a “_________ meets _________” tagline, but if you can, jump on it! Using this kind of analogy can boil your pitch down to just that one line, and agents and editors love it! It immediately gets the point across, which is exactly what you need when pitching.

As you develop your pitch, avoid the following mistakes:

  1. DON’T talk about the process: The agent or editor doesn’t care how you developed your characters or where you got your ideas. It just isn’t relevant.
  2. DON’T pounce: Take the time to open up a natural conversation if at all possible. Building rapport before the pitch makes the agent or publisher more receptive to your message. This can be as simple as exchanging business cards and chatting briefly about the conference or the market. Of course, if you’re doing an elevator pitch at a crowded conferenc,e you might not have this luxury.
  3. DON’T verbally vomit: Nobody likes long-winded pitches, and industry pros will lose interest. Stick to short, one- to two-sentence talking points that make them respond with “Tell me more.”
  4. DO quit while you’re ahead: Once you hear the magic words “Send it to me,” say thank you, stop talking, and move on — either to the next manuscript, a different topic, or even ending the session.

Take the time to do it right. Practice saying your pitch out loud. Test it on a couple of friends. Keep whittling it down until it contains only the needed elements. But be prepared to explain when the industry professional says “tell me more.”

If you practice ahead of time, you’ll be ready when it comes time to pitch. Don’t be afraid to bring note cards if that helps you, but also don’t plan to use them. If you spend the time looking down at your cards, you come off as nervous and your pitch will be stilted. Rather than reading note cards, just tell her about your book. Remember, YOU’RE the expert on your book. Not her. She won’t know whether you messed something up. She’s just interested in whether it sounds like something she wants to read.

So relax and have fun!

Getting the Conference Appointment You REALLY Want

Conference horror stories. We’ve all heard a few, or more. Remember the one about the overly-eager writer who slipped her manuscript under the bathroom stall and interrupted a poor editor’s private time? Or was it an agent? I did a quick Internet search on writer+manuscript+conference+bathroom and got over 500,000 hits. Seems more than one writer has tried this way of getting noticed. Of course, there’s getting noticed, and then there’s GETTING NOTICED. Do you really want  your dream editor or agent associating your manuscript–that one you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into–with … bathroom functions?

Master Tweeting for Authors: Part III

This is my third and final posting for Twitter tips and tricks for authors.  This is probably my favorite post because it covers my pet peeves.  But these peeves go beyond personal irritiation, these tips will help maximize your Twitter experience.  How? By:

  • Getting your tweets read by the maximum amount of followers
  • Increasing your chances of getting followed
  • Diminish your chances of getting unfollowed
  • Generally display an organized, professional way of twittering. 

If you plan on using Twitter in your best interest as an author, yes, it’s important.

(BTW, I am not a purist.  Occasionally…okay, often if I’m squeezed for time…I ignore my own suggestions.  I just try not to make a habit of it.)

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Tidy up
We’re all pressed for time.  And with the growing popularity of social media, especially Twitter, more and more people are going to skim for quality content.  If you don’t take the time to tidy up your tweets, your information will get skipped (at best)  or you’ll get deleted by followers (at worst).  No one wants to read junk. 

One of the things I find myself doing is skipping far more posts that start with a # and @ or an RT.  I want original information, not regurgitation, so the posts I stop to read begin with real words, real content. 

I’m not saying never simply RT (’cause I do it too on occasion).  I’m just saying, stop and think before you hit that “retweet” button.  If the information is really that important to share, shouldn’t you be willing to take thirty seconds and make it interesting? Maybe add something of value?

Example of a typical Retweet:
RT @Jan_OHara Wonder how to find the perfect agent? @MegWClayton tells us how, today on Writer Unboxed: http://bit.ly/fdzamy #writegoal

A tidied version of the retweeted information:
Today on Writer Unboxed: @MegWClayton tells us how to find the perfect agent http://bit.ly/fdzamy. RT @Jan_OHara #writegoal

Just a little cleaner, smoother to read and easier on the skimmer’s eye.  The first one I’d skip.  The second one I’d read and click the link.  That’s what we want, right?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Keep it simple
Just because Twitter give you 140 characters, doesn’t mean you have to use them all. 

Example cluttered tweet:
7 Myths About #Publishing: http://dld.bz/R75T @MaryDeMuth @thecreativepenn @iwritereadrate #pubtip #writing #amwriting #writetip #writers

KISS tweet:
7 Myths About #Publishing: http://dld.bz/R75T (via @iwritereadrate) #writetip

It’s nice to do an @mention for everyone who’s retweeted the post, but…why?  The credit really belongs to the person who either wrote it or originally tweeted it.  And as for hashtags (#) apply the tag that’s most appropriate – two at most.  Flooding every special interest # with the same post will get you ignored.

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Be inclusive
As I described in my previous Twitter related post, the @ sign is the single most powerful element to understand if you want the best milage out of your tweet.  Remember: because not everyone follows the same people you follow, they may often see only part of a conversation.  That’s irritating. 

If you’re going to carry on a private conversation, carry it on in private (Direct messaging or using the @ before the user’s name).  Otherwise, make things inclusive by leaving piece of the previous message so others don’t feel like they’ve parachuted into a cocktail party and right into the middle of a conversation.

This would be the exclusive (an annoying) way to respond to a message:
YES! @iansomerhalder Bring it!

If I don’t follow @iansomerhalder, but I follow the person who sent the message, I have NO idea what the hell this means.  Bring what?

An inclusive example posted by @DarcyBurke
YES! Bring it! RT @iansomerhalder: Damon is about to shoot his first scene with Klaus…

Okay, now, even if I don’t follow @iansomerhalder, even if I don’t know who Damon is or Klaus or anything, I’m still “in” on the context.  Thank you!

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Shhhh
I cherish silence.  Yes, even on the internet.  There is already so much noise polution in our lives (the main reason we filter and skim) just chuck the noise & chatter.  Use your @’s and direct your communication.  (BTW, this is the type of post that causes me to unfollow someone)

Example of noise:
Thanks, girl! // RT @ProvidenceCarey: “For Better or Worse,” a new post at THE HAPPY BOOK BLOG: http://t.co/Re00SGg // This cracked me up 🙂

There are so many irritations in this post, I can’t even address them all.  Let me just offer a smart, professional, thoughtful way of doing this:

@ProvidenceCarey Thanks for the RT!

So simple, yet so brilliant!  If you’d like to get a little more personal and share your gratitude with all your followers, you could follow Marie Force’s example:

Thank you so much to @smellykellie for the lovely blog post about my books at www.mommywishdom.com. I love my readers!

Nice, professional, clean, personal.  I love it.

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120, the new 140
Make it easy for others to RT your posts by leaving some personal space.  Keep your posts under 120 words or so allows others to insert their user name without having to completely reword your information.  Far faster for the RTer, which means you’ll get RTd more often.  Win-win.

Example of the new 140:
12 Lessons Learned While Marketing “The 4-Hour Body” http://su.pr/32FZl2 (via @tferriss) (88 characters)

Here is that post RT’d:
RT @thecreativepenn: 12 Lessons Learned While Marketing “The 4-Hour Body” http://su.pr/32FZl2 (via @tferriss) (109 characters)

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Big Brother is watching
No, not the government…well, actually, yeah, they’re watching too.   But here, my point is that Twitter content is not private, like Facebook content (and I’m not even sure how private Facebook really is).

  • Did you know tweets show up on Google and other search engines?
  • Did you know people who don’t follow you can see your tweets?
  • Did you know that people who don’t even have a facebook account can see your tweets?

Try putting this URL directly into your browser, just like you would any other internet address: http://twitter.com/joanswan (or click on it, that’s easier, but I’m trying to make a point) :).

What appears are not only all the posts I’ve tweeted, but all the responses left by others.  When I realized that, it freaked me out a little–not that I any reason to…just, you know, things can get taken out of context.  Yeah, that’s it… 

I’m just sayin’…think before you tweet.  Would you want a potential agent or editor Googling you and finding a tweet that says Agents are so damn slow, it’s pathetic or I don’t know why I even try, I should just quit?  I think not.

I think I’ve babbled enough.  I hope it’s been helpful and I sincerely hope to see you all on Twitter–as you can tell, I’m a big fan of Twitter done right.

In closing I thought I’d share the anatomy of a few complicated tweets–for educational purposes only.  My philosphy is that if you need a diagram to figure it out, the post should never have been tweeted in the first place.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Anatomy of a Tweet

Sisterhood

Sometimes I feel so incredibly blessed to be a writer during the information age. Can you imagine typing the 561,996-word Atlas Shrugged on a manual typewriter? Or worse, handwriting all 560,391 words of Les Misérables?

But even more than the easy cut-and-paste of modern word processors, I’m thankful for the instant communication and the unexpected camaraderie of the Internet age. I never suspected I’d have so many dear friends I’ve never met in person. It’s like penpals on steroids.

It’s All About the Networking, Baby!

It’s conference season again. For romance writers, as most of you know, the mother of all conferences is looming ever closer. Romance Writer’s of America will be hosting their 30th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida from July 28th – July 31st.

The buzz about this conference is ever growing. Blogs and magazine articles are countless. Topics may include etiquette, travel, volunteering, navigating workshops, and, of course, shoes.

Another subject that will dominate the conference theme is networking.

Connectivity

So this is my second blog on the subject of Connectivity in the last few months.  The first was in response to the fact I had none (a power outage that kept me from the interwebs for an entire weekend…oh, the horror!!).

This blog, however, is about a different aspect of Connectivity – the joy in connecting with others who share a common passion. 

In the Company of Writers

In the years that I’ve been actively writing romance novels, I’ve attended quite a few writers’ conferences. But, by far, the one I look forward to the most–the one I would not miss for anything–is the Washington Romance Writers’ Spring Retreat, In the Company of Writers, which was held this past weekend in Leesburg, Virginia.

Why is this particular conference so great?

A Little More Conversation…

Elvis was wrong when he sang, “A little less conversation, a lot more action…”

Well, at least in the world of writers. I know what you are thinking…not another blog on writing sex. Seriously, who doesn’t like that hot button topic? But this isn’t about sex or writing an action/adventure novel.

The Latest Comments

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