THE POWER OF WRITING – FREE TELESUMMIT – SIGN UP NOW! #writing

As we have writers at all stages of their journey here, I’d like to share details of this telesummit which may be of interest to some of you.

Starting April 30th, this FREE audio summit covers a huge range of types of writing – blogging, journaling, memoir, short stories, novels, non-fiction and more, and I (Deborah Jay) am thrilled to be one of 15 authors sharing my experience in an in-depth interview.

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There are so many types of writing out there, often the biggest challenge is, where to start.

As a lover of writing, I know what a powerful tool it can be to really changing your life; but I also know the challenges that writers face with things like creating the habits needed, being consistent, focused and inspired, getting over fears of writing and much more…
Let me introduce to my friend Dawn! Dawn has also dealt with these same challenges and has now made it her mission to help others do the same. She has brought 15 experts (including me!) together in the second Power of Writing series called: The Power of Writing: Discover and share your gifts through developing a powerful and purposeful writing practice.
The telesummit consists of audio interviews, so you can listen in wherever you are.
These interviews are REAL, short and to the point CONVERSATIONS with people for whom writing, and helping others write, really is at the core of their lives! The strategies and tips and insights that they’ll be sharing will be invaluable to helping you on the road to really creating a writing life.
Join me here: https://thepowerofwritingsummit.com/o/deborah/
Oh, and did I remember to mention? – IT’S FREE

Please share!

How to open a link in a new Window – and why you should #Blogging

Hi folks – I see too many bloggers who risk losing their audience by NOT using this one simple step on their WordPress blog – don’t be one of them!
If you AREN’T already using this simple tool, skip over to the full post for easy to follow steps to keep your readers on YOUR blog.

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We all want people to read our posts, don’t we? Why else would we devote so much time to blogging?

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So in amongst your material, you include helpful links to other articles.

What you may not realise is that more often than not, once a reader clicks away from your page, they don’t come back.

Particularly if you’ve put a link fairly early on in your post, you may have inadvertently lost that reader to someone else’s blog.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing readers is great and part of the fabulous ethos of the community of bloggers and writers, but what if there was a way to keep your reader on your blog at the same time as sharing someone else’s post?

Well, strangely enough, there is!

I learned this way back when I first started my extensive research before ever dipping my toe into the deep water of indie publishing and blogging…

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New Posters: SO sorry!

I no longer receive notices when comments are waiting to be approved, so I sometimes don’t discover them for a bit. SO sorry to all you wonderful folks who commented on Judith’s guest blog yesterday. I did NOT mean to ignore any of you, honest. I think everyone has been approved now, including Judith’s responses. (Ooops.) I’ll try to do better next time, I promise!

Off for a day of fun, long overdue, with my good friend and Graphics Goddess, Nicki Forde, who does my fabulous covers for me, and my good friend and Beta reader extraordinaire, Dian. Lunch at the Cotillion Café in Wildwood (the inspiration for  my Southern Comfort Café in my Riverbend series). Pictures MIGHT be forthcoming later, if we can tear ourselves away from fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and Rhett Butler cake long enough to take them.  😀

Happy Saturn’s Day, everyone!

Ever Have One of THOSE Days?

Actually, I’ve been having one of those days since Friday. Ever since I sat down to format Finding Hunter for CreateSpace, and  Word refused to cooperate. Slowly, I’ve become a snarling, ill-tempered wreck, biting my nails, tearing my hair, and cursing everything and everyone in my sight. NOT a pretty picture.

But I thought I had finally gotten everything wrapped up pretty well this morning. Then I decided to make a small change to the back material in Finding Hunter for Kindle. I made the change, uploaded the new file, and checked out my Bookshelf…ONLY to see that I had uploaded the newly revised Finding Hunter manuscript to the Swamp Ghosts file!!!! (If you heard a hideous scream coming from every direction at once an hour or so ago, it was probably me. No matter where you live.)

Once I could breathe again, I called Amazon customer service, and got a very nice man immediately. Only problem was, he couldn’t cancel the upload. Only Kindle Select folks can do that. And they’re gone. For the weekend. But they’ll email  me when they get back. 24 to 48 hours from now. Meanwhile, the changes will go live in 12.

The good news is, I can fix them at that time, but then along will come Kindle Select personnel in 24 hours, and stop what I just fixed. For the life of me, I can’t see how this plays out in less than a week of messing around, during which time anyone who buys Swamp Ghosts  is going to find the wrong book inside the covers.

Now, you’d think they could go back and download the RIGHT one, once it’s all fixed. But I’m still without a current version of Wake-Robin Ridge, after paying for it three times. It still sends me the original version, errors and all.

I’m not a happy camper. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be a happy camper again. And right now, I’m in the ridiculous position of praying no one downloads a Kindle version of Swamp Ghosts for the next week or so. You’ve been warned. If you were considering reading it, please wait until I give the go-ahead, to be sure you aren’t stuck with Finding Hunter in a Swamp Ghosts cover.  I’d say a week should do it, but I’ll post here if it gets sorted sooner.

Now, I’m going to go lock myself in my room and have a good cry. So there.

Have your #reading habits changed since the advent of #ebooks?

I posted this on my own blog a couple of days ago, and thought as it has relevance to indie authors, I would share it here as well.

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Like so many, when ebooks first arrived on the scene I was a bit sniffy about them – “I like a real book,” I said.

I know quite a few who still haven’t succumbed to the electronic reader, though they are a dwindling group.

When I finally embraced the indie revolution and decided to self-publish, it went without saying that I purchased an ebook reader (Kindle Fire, in my case), and downloaded a kindle app to all my devices, so I could:

  1. check out my own books
  2. check out the competition
  3. read lots and lots of books that didn’t cost much and didn’t take over every shelf/cupboard/window ledge (and under beds) in my entire house.

Next, becoming an indie author and maintaining a blog involved producing content, and after a bit of experimentation, I settled on a mix of news, reviews, articles on writing – and hosting other authors on blog tours.

As a result, I find myself signing up for a number of review tours, and reading books I didn’t originally go shopping for, but which sound interesting. And here is where I’ve noticed how far my reading habits have changed.

Sadly, I find I’m becoming less tolerant. Back in the day, when books cost £8 – £10 a copy, I would read from cover to cover whether I was enthralled or not. I’d paid for the book and damned if I wasn’t going to get my money’s worth!

Those books were, of course, traditionally published; but that doesn’t mean to say they were all good – I’ve read many a turkey and wondered how the hell it got published. But no matter how crappy it was, my habit was to always finish.

Nowadays? My habit has been well and truly broken.

My kindle is stuffed to bursting with far more books than I will ever read, and I add more daily. The majority are indie books, and many are very good.

Unfortunately, many are not.

I really hate adding to my DNF list, as I know intimately how much time has gone into writing each and every book; the passion, the agonising over whether it’s good enough, the money spent (patently not on all of them, but most). But with that plethora of reading material available, I just don’t have time to invest in a book I’m not enthralled by.

Hence the change in habit. I now give a book 2 chapters to win me over (provided I haven’t ditched it before that, due to formatting and writing errors, or construction and/or word choice I just can’t bear), and if I’m not thoroughly hooked by then, I stop and delete.

This post, like my earlier rant about cliff hanger endings here, has been prompted by a book I really wanted to like, but just couldn’t. I took it on as part of a review tour, and had to pull out (which I feel slightly guilty about), but the first chapter left me cold, and while the second was markedly better, I realised that it was the main character I did not care for, so not a good basis on which to continue.

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The concept is terrific. I scanned the book to see where it was going, and the plot looks as good as it promised to be from the blurb. But that MC? I understand the issues with writing a somewhat unsympathetic character, and this was an exiled fae, with major issues in his life that led him to be rather cold and unpredictable emotionally and in his dealings with other people. I get that. But I couldn’t warm to him, so sadly that was that.

I find that I’m also much quicker to dismiss a book on its blurb – if I’m not hooked in the first two sentences, I don’t look any further.

I find this change a bit sad, but I’m guessing there are many other readers out there becoming more discriminating too, and I take it as a wake up call – indies, polish that blurb until it can’t fail but grab the right reader (of course it must be tailored to the genre), and for goodness sake, start your book with a dynamite scene!

How long do you give a book before you put it aside? Or do you still doggedly finish everything you start?

No Wonder…

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…I’ve been craving my tea ICED all day! We have now had our first “official” day of this summer where we hit 100 degrees! And we’re only midway through June. I shudder to think what July and August are going to be like. Urk.  And THIS is why I love Florida so much more in the winter, when I can garden every day. 🙂 Hope it’s cooler where you are!

Promo Ideas for Signings: Attention Tea Lovers!

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I have to thank Jennifer Melzer for turning me on to the Adagio Teas website. Not only do they have absolutely delicious teas of their own, but they have a set up where you can combine teas, flavorings, and inclusions to produced your own custom blends, and your own labels! It’s so much fun.

Being the hard-core tea drinker that I am, I’m partial to writing a bit of it into my books. In the case of Willow Greene in Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, it’s a bit more than “a little.” She’s a little New Age in appearance and dress, and loves her herbs and teas. (Not to let that fool you, though. She’s a clever business woman and a very strong character, in spite of it.) And Willow loves tea as much as I do. She has one for every mood or ailment, I think.

It was on my first visit to Adagio Teas that I decided my characters would be great inspiration for some custom blends I wanted to try for myself. For you folks who enjoy a good cuppa as much as I do, I hope you’ll stop by and check them out. I now give away sample tins of these teas at signings and presentations, and they’ve gone over very well. Plus the little tins serve as a nice bit of promotion for my books, since the labels include portions of the title graphic, and my name. 🙂

I now have ten custom blends, including: Sarah’s Favorite Earl Grey, Ruth’s Berry Apple Blend, Gunnar’s Assam Blend, Maggie’s Tropical Green, Willow’s Raspberry Cooler, Willow’s Soothing Chamomile, Lester’s White Cranberry, Maggie’s DECAF Mango Surprise, and DECAF Orange Mango Blend, and Christmas on Wake-Robin Ridge.

Hope you’ll check some of them out. You can order them in various sizes, including a small sample package to see what you think. I don’t get paid for this, per se, but any orders at all will earn me points I can use on my next purchase, including my own. So far, just my own orders keep me from ever paying shipping, and usually give me a few dollars off on my purchase as well. (This is a big help when you have over 32 different teas in little cannisters on your counter! 😯 )

If you stop by the site, be sure to look at all the wonderful teas they offer, AND you might consider making your own custom blends, as well. It’s so much fun. You can create them for you own use, or try using them as promotional giveaways at events. The cute little sample tins run about $2 each if you order 10 or more, so you don’t want to give away thousands of them, but a bowl full of freebies on your display table is a nice touch, and not totally prohibitive for most events I’ve been to, so far.

My Custom Adagio Tea Blends

Adagio Home Page

Shameless plea for votes – my #SF #shortstory ‘Perfect Fit’ is #FREE to read

When I entered my short story PERFECT FIT in a contest being held in honor of the late, great Terry Pratchett, I didn’t realize it was open voting. It took me a couple of hours to find a cover, upload and write a description, so when I saw that I needed to also blab about it to gather votes, I thought I’d just chalk up the time spent to experience and move on.

In the process, I did discover a great site where you can download free wallpaper images, which is what I used for the story, so it wasn’t a total waste. You can find that site here.

But then I thought, hell, why not?

So here is my plea: please click on THIS LINK to read the story and vote. In fact, you don’t even have to read it (which makes it rather a poor writing contest, in my opinion, but hey ho), all you have to do is click on the little heart to vote for it.

If you do read it, like it and want to, you can also rate and review.

I shared a snippet of this story during excerpt week here, and it is my contribution to the anthology THE WORLD AND THE STARS, that I published earlier this month.

So here is the mini blurb for the story:

Humanity has the technology to play God, but how far should it be allowed to go? On a generational starship where workers are created to fit their jobs, Roz believes they might have gone too far…

And the lovely cover I found for it:

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Now go. Vote.

Please… 😉

 

Why use #hashtags in your blog post titles?

If you’ve seen any of my blog posts, you may have noticed that I use hashtags in the titles.

You may be wondering why, as it doesn’t always look that attractive.

But wait! Not so long ago Marcia was exhorting us to ‘share, share, share’ – and rightly so.

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Having those neat little share buttons at the end of the post makes it so simple – but how effective are your shares?

If you’re sharing to Facebook, then its likely to be to your closer group of friends; to Google, your like-minded associates.

But to Twitter?

Have you looked at the tweets generated by the share buttons, before you click on ‘tweet’?

They include the title of your piece – but unless the sharer takes the time to add hashtags, they go out with, often, a title that strangers might not find interesting.

If, on the other hand, you put appropriate hashtags into your title, hey presto! There they are in the ready generated tweet, so anybody looking at the hashtagged subjects you’ve chosen will see the tweet, and hopefully come to take a look at your blog post.

And that, dear friends, is why there are Twitter hashtags in my blog post titles.

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And if you’re not sure what hashtag to use, here is a post with an exhaustive list of tags just for authors:

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/225-hashtags-for-writers.html?showComment=1430150581560#c8518488463420417282

Questions anyone?