Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Free Twitter Tool I Wish I Knew About Long Ago

Perusing potential new Twitter friends, I discovered a remarkable tool I did not know about called ‘Pinned Tweets’.

The way it works is you can ‘pin’ any tweet you want to the top of your tweet list.  Meaning that you can select a tweet that someone else tweeted about you (or one you tweeted yourself); perhaps book accolades, reviews, free day plugs, etc., and pin it to your profile.

What is the advantage?  Well, one is it highlights this tweet so that anyone hopping on your profile will see that tweet first.  Two, if your Twitter friends are looking for a tweet to retweet you, they don’t have to look far to find the one you’ve chosen to stand out above all the rest.

How do you use it?

Find any tweet and look at the footer strip where there are three small dots on the far right hand side.  If you hover over the dots with your mouse it says ‘more’.  Click on that and select from the drop-down menu ‘pin tweet’.  This will pin the tweet to the top of your profile and you can see it by clicking on your tweets.  It will be the first one and it will actually say at the top ‘pinned tweet’.

This is a great tool and I’ve found it to be very useful already.  I hope many of you start using this as it makes life so much easier for people like me, who want to reciprocate a mention/rettweet with a tweet.  It’s a real time-saver so we don’t have to scroll down, perhaps through days worth of tweets, to find a book plug or original tweet (or something that isn’t a retweet).

Check it out!  See my profile to view the ‘pinned tweet’ and give it a try!

Do you know any more little goodies like this?  Feel free to add it in the comments!



Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming October 20!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website www.sandyappleyard.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Things to do When You're Stuck in a Following-Follower Rut

Twitter is quite the mystery to most.  It’s telling by how many books are published about  the workings of the site. 

One day you have retweets, mentions and followers coming out of the woodwork, then the next you’re scrimping to find people to thank for all those mentioned. 

It’s inevitable to go through a lull every now and again, but if you find your numbers have hit a wall and are stuck there, this post will help get you past it.

First, use a service like www.justunfollow.com weekly, removing all inactive users.  About once a month I recommend going through and removing those who are not following you back

Note:  Be sure to give a good week or more of lag time when you begin following people spontaneously, otherwise you’ll be unfollowing people you haven’t given a fair chance to follow you back.

The only way to climb the Twitter totem pole (unless you’re a celebrity or have incredibly good luck) is to follow people spontaneouslySo here are a few tips to get you there:

1.  Find an author or person who does something similar to you.  Find out who they’re following and follow them as well.

Note: don’t just go and follow their followers, be sure to follow who they’re following, use their taste in following.  If the person is loyal and trusted, you’d be wise to use their lead.

2.  Be sure to respond when they thank you for following or when they simply send you a shout out.  It’s important to make connections, so you don’t appear to be just a serial follower.

3.  Do not respond to direct messages.  Many Tweople have their account set up with auto-tweets that are triggered by new followers.  If you spend time responding to these, you’ll waste a lot of valuable time doing what they ask (liking their Facebook pages, etc.) and chances are they won’t reciprocate.  I recommend responding to requests only when they tweet you; this way you have a better chance that they will reciprocate.

4.  Another quick and easy way to follow people is to scroll through a loyal follower’s recently followed list.  This can be found by simply rolling through all their recent tweets and following those they’ve made connections with.  You can also do this by following those that they’ve included in their recent thank you tweets.  

5.  Last, and frankly the easiest, is to simply follow back those who follow you

Note:  make sure you only follow those who do similar to what you do (writers, bloggers, etc.) otherwise you’ll be following everyone and their mother’s uncle, so to speak. 

Tip:  A sure way to get others to follow you is to put a blurb in your profile like mine “I follow those who, like me; eat, sleep and breathe books”.  This way you give people a general idea of what you do and what you’ll do for them.

But most important is to offer quality content in your tweets.  This means to not only mention and retweet good stuff, but to provide your own excellent original posts and re-posts.  This, above all, will encourage followers.

Want a new follower?  Simply follow me by clicking this link.  I follow back all writers, authors and just about anyone who has something interesting to say!


Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming October 20!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please click here to go to her website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Before You Download That Image for Your Blog, Read This

I don’t know about you, but I got so sick of hearing about copyright issues and constantly scrolling through image after image in what was said to be a free database, only to find it was watermarked.  

Are you with me?

So I did some research, and found this handy-dandy little website called myecovermaker.com.  

And guess what?  It’s not just for making covers for your ebooks!  And, best of all, it’s FREE! 

Note:  There is a paid option, but you can get what you need from the free version.




Here is a gallery of some of the cool blog images I’ve created over the years:













It takes anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to create a professional-looking image for the header of your next post.  The more you’re seasoned with it the less time it takes, as there are some fussy details depending on what you want to do.

Here is a quick breakdown of how to create a simple design:


Step 1.  First, select which free type of cover you want (free designs have a tag in red that say FREE).  I recommend using the second option, paperback stack.

Step 2.  Then you select your background. Now, don't be fooled; you can select any one of the backgrounds, but if you only want to use a portion (say you like just the colour of a piece of one of the backgrounds), you can crop the cursor so you can zoom in on that particular portion of the background.  Or, if you like the whole thing, simply click 'select and continue'.

Step 3.  Next is where you can insert text and images.  If you have an image already saved to your computer, simply click on 'upload images' and choose from there.  If you want to select from the supplied images, you have your choice of symbols, stock photos, graphics and shapes.  

You can crop, move and resize all images and text within the provided box, and you can also use special features with text such as font, size and effects.  You can change the colour of a portion or all of your text and/or images.  You can also rotate, flip, contrast or bring text or images to the front so it stands out better.  Play around with it and see what works for you.

Step 4.  When you're satisfied with your cover, click on 'finallize' and you can change the size of the cover there.  If you want to make changes, simply click on 'edit cover' and go back.  If you're happy with it, I recommend selecting the 2D rather than the 3D cover, otherwise your work won't be flat and it won't appear proper for your blog post.

I've been using this free service for about 3 years now.  If you're interested in creating a free book cover using this site, here is an example of what you can do (I used it to create a cover for my first novel):



I invite you to share some of the free things you've made in the comments below.  Post a link or the image itself!  Let's have some fun!

Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming Soon!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website by clicking here.  








Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What is the Key to Writing Successfully?

One of the most important things to have as a writer, more important than knowledge, experience or a great writer’s platform; is momentum.

Momentum is the key to writing successfully, and it is what you get when you’re on a roll, when you’ve got your story in mind or already started, and you have the drive to continue working on it until it’s finished, regardless of whatever else you are doing.

So how do you get it? 

Here are the ten practices I use to maintain constant writing momentum.

1.  Write every day.

Make it a habit.  Find what time of day best suits you and set aside that time to write.  Think of it as your ‘me’ time and it helps to minimize the feeling of selfishness that authors can sometimes get.  Consider writing a favour you do for yourself each day; like exercising your brain.

2.  Write at least 1000 words per day.

1000 words is basically 2.5 pages single-spaced.  Not a lot.  But it’s the regularly doing that many words a day that’s going to get that book finished.  Even if the words suck, at least you’re writing down something.  It’s like primer; you can’t do a good job painting a wall if you don’t prime first.  You can always go back and make changes when the book is complete.

The key here is setting a goal.  Every time you set a goal and meet or exceed it, it makes you feel good and gives you more motivation.  It becomes a cycle and, more importantly, it becomes a habit.  A good habit. 

3.  Make notes after you’ve finished your writing session.

We can’t always finish a scene or chapter before we get interrupted or run out of time.  The best way to maintain good writing momentum from the last time you wrote is to remember exactly what you were planning to write next. 

It’s also a good idea to make notes for future chapters or plot ideas, even character lines that can be used later.  Don’t always rely on memory because then you’re sure to forget once ideas pile up, and then you’ll be kicking yourself for forgetting and worse, for not writing them down.

4.  Do not let other book ideas interrupt you finishing your current project.

You’re right in the middle of writing your latest manuscript.  Suddenly a new book idea pops into your head.  It’s such a phenomenal story idea that you are so tempted to pause your current project and start the new one.  A month later, the same thing happens.  Do you see a pattern here? 

What ends up happening is that you have five or six current writing projects on the go, and you’ve lost sense of your original feel and ideas for most of them. 

The way to stop this is to pull over and take a break, for an hour, from your current writing project.  Write down every possible detail you can about the new project idea that has come to you.  Any detail, down to a possible line or the thought pattern you had when the storyline arrived inside your head.  Save it to a Word document and shelve it.  You can go back and add to it if more comes to you, whether it’s more ideas for that current story, or another book idea. 

As a writer, this is bound to happen, and be thankful that it does.  There are lots of writers out there who would beg and steal to have this kind of flow of inspiration.  But don’t let it distract you.  Take control of it and unleash it when your original project is done.  Otherwise you’re risking losing momentum in your projects because you’re constantly switching from one book idea to the next.

5.  Do not go back and edit until your book is finished. 

Small edits are fine.  Or if something in the timeline isn’t working once you’ve reached a certain point.  What I’m referring to is major plot changes halfway through the book.  What ends up happening is that your original book plan becomes so skewed from constantly making changes, that you lose momentum and give up.

If you have an idea for a different plot, consider that a new plot and make notes in the file mentioned in tip#4.

6.  Go back and re-read. 

Sometimes we do have to put our work away for a while.  Whether it’s due to illness, personal life situations or in my case, having your kids home for the summer.  I do still try to squeeze in some writing each day when I can even if it seems impossible.  But in the event that you do have to walk away from it, make sure you come back and simply re-read where you left off or even the whole manuscript.  Don’t just shelve the book for good and start anew.

7.  Make small sacrifices.

Many of us watch what we may think is just a little television, or spend a perceived small amount of time surfing the internet or on social media.  But if you record the actual time that you use on each or individually, you’d be surprised how much it amounts to. 

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to turn off all the notifications I had on my cell phone.  It was such a distraction getting Facebook and Twitter updates constantly, I barely got any writing done.  The same holds true for the television.  If you cut even one or two shows out per night, you’d be amazed how much writing you can get done.

8.  Get a good laptop, and a good laptop bag.

When I say this, I mean a laptop that is comfortable to use under any circumstance.  Why?  Because if you use little bits of time while on road trips or when you know you’re going to be waiting (at the doctor’s office, dentist, etc.), you can use that time to write.  A good laptop bag is a huge must for me, because my last laptop was so damaged from being knocked around inside a makeshift bag, I nearly lost all my files because it simply gave out on me one day without notice.

9.  Read if you can’t write.

Every night before bed I read.  Sometimes I write, too, but for the most part I’m too tired to write.  Reading good books is food for a writer’s brain.  Consider that if you don’t read that you’re literally starving your brain if you want to continue being a writer.  You simply cannot have the tools involved in writing good books if you’re not reading them too.

10.  Get plenty of rest.

This is somewhat self-explanatory.  However, one interesting point I will note here is that for me, sometimes if I’m feeling particularly ‘out of steam’ literary-wise, I take a nap.  Somehow, usually when I awake, an idea has popped out of my head that gets me out of my temporary slump. 

Needless to say if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep there’s no point in trying to hash out your 1000 words.  Take a nap or give it a go the next day; or hey, if you’re feeling brave, give it a shot! 

Conclusion

Not everything happens overnight; try to implement one or two of these practices over a weekly basis.  It took me nine years to grasp all these things, so take your time.

These are all the steps I follow and so far I’ve had really great momentum with my writing career.  In the nine years that I’ve been writing I have 11 books to my credit (5 self-published, 2 others being released by traditional publishers later this year, and 4 other manuscripts looking for homes) so what can I tell you?  If you want to be successful at writing, write! 


Do you have any additional steps you take to help keep your writing momentum going?  Please share below!

Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming Soon!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.

Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website by clicking here.  



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Before Submitting to an Agent, Make Sure Your Book Has These Ten Things

This post is not about making sure your book has the obvious like a catchy title, professional formatting, editing and cover design.  In this post I’m going to discuss the things that are beneath the surface, and only visible once the reader begins diving into a story.

1.  Gripping first chapter

In today’s literary world, the first chapter is so critical.  Not only must you capture your reader’s attention (sometimes on the first page), but you also have to nearly synopsise your entire novel here; without giving away too much.  The first chapter needs to give a real feel for what’s going to happen throughout the entire story. 

(The best example of a remarkable first chapter is Sandra Brown’s Best Kept Secrets-her first chapter encompasses all the elements discussed in this post).

Tip:  Sometimes it's best to add your first chapter after all other chapters are completed.

2.  Geography

Whether or not the story is told in an important place, the reader needs to feel like they’re there geographically.  If you cannot actually visit the place where the plot occurs, then research it.  Read books that take place where your story will, even read maps or picture books that show and tell about the area.  The reader needs to use all five senses to get a feel for where the characters are.

3.  Setting

This is not the same thing as the geographic setting.  The setting can be chronological (past, present or future), it can also be demographic (on a farm in Connecticut with an Hamish family, or in the year 3000 on Mars with a bunch of aliens), make the reader see where they are and feel as though they are a fly on the wall, witnessing all the scenes.

4.  Chapter Conclusion

Each chapter needs to give the reader a reason to keep reading; and I don’t mean this to sound patronizing.  All chapters should have enthralling content, but at the end of the chapter, in order to keep the reader from putting down the book, you need to give them a strong reason not to. 

There are several techniques to do this:

a)  Cliff hanger (most common)
b)  An open-ended question
c)  A questionable look, scene or character being introduced
d)  Leave the reader hanging; end the scene in the middle of the next chapter (the best example of this is E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey).

5.  Pacing

I’ll use E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey in this example again.  If Ana had discovered Christian’s fondness for S & M long after she learned of his painful childhood, the sexual tension and the love story would have unravelled all at the wrong pace.  She gradually fell in love with him as she learned more and more about his childhood. 

All stories must have proper pacing.  You can’t have Peter falling in love with Paula before your climax occurs, unless of course, that is your climax.  Readers want to be challenged and surprised.  Keep them guessing; give them plenty of breadcrumbs along the way, but ultimately keep them turning the pages and nail your climax at the correct time.

6.  No Strings Attached

Once you’ve reached the point in your novel where the climax is about to happen, make sure all the subplots and mystery are going to tie up in the end.  Don’t leave your reader hanging on until your next book is released to find out what’s going to happen.  To most readers that is a turn-off (unless you’re J.K. Rowling or E.L. James and can get away with that).  Bring all the elements and characters together in the end. Let your reader walk away with a contented smile on their face.

7.  Teach Them Something

Any New York Times bestselling book I’ve ever read has taught me something.  Whether it was a moral or literal lesson, I’ve walked away having gained some knowledge.  This is especially true for historical novels.  For example, Philippa Gregory’s entire Tudor novel line is chocked full of in-depth historical facts interlaced within the fictitious portions of the books.  She explains everything in detail in the beginning and end and she includes diagrams of family trees when needed to illustrate what happened within the story.  All her books are fictitious, but you take away some true knowledge of history.

Another example is a recent book I read: Jodi Picoult’s House Rules.  In this novel, the main character suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.  The author deeply educates the reader in regards to what the condition is, what it’s like to have it and what it looks and feels like to the victim’s loved ones and others around him. 

There are hundreds of other examples of this that I can think of, but the point is that the reader should feel like you had first-hand knowledge of the main theme of the book.  If you don’t have first-hand knowledge; get it.  Whether it’s through researching books, interviewing people, visiting places, whatever it is, make your reader believe you know your stuff, and care that they know it too.

8.  Use Words That Fit

I’m not talking about grammar or repetition here; we all know well enough that you need to have your manuscript properly edited.  What I am talking about is the proper use of words.  There is nothing more boring than reading a book that either has too many fancy words, or nothing but plain language.  My personal rule of thumb is to make sure each page has at least two uncommon words, but make sure the sentence correctly reflects the word, so the reader doesn’t have to bring out the dictionary and decode.

If you’re a seasoned reader this process will come out naturally.  As Stephen King states in his book On Writing, your writer’s toolbox should continue to be packed daily with new words you’ve learned from reading good books.  If you’re not a seasoned reader, trying to stick in fancy words here and there will be obvious.

So what’s the solution?  Read.  Read.  Read.  Every day.

9.  Make Them Laugh

Part of being human is to have emotion.  If you can make your reader laugh out loud, you’re golden.  I don’t mean telling a joke, but that is acceptable if it fits, I mean give them a funny situation and help them feel it.  Bring sunshine to their day.  If nothing else, a reader will tell at least a few people the funny part of your story. It could be one of the most memorable parts of your book so don’t gloss over it.

10.  Make Them Feel

It’s not enough to describe a scene and all that encompasses it.  It isn’t enough to tell the story and what happens within it.  If you want a reader to remember your book, they have to feel it.  Tear their heart out with a tragic ending, make them want to run for the little girl who’s about to cross the busy road unattended.  It’s not enough for the reader to feel like they’re there, make them feel what the characters feel emotionally, physically, environmentally and psychologically. 

You can do this by making them committed to your story.  By committed I mean that they don’t want to put the book down; they have made a commitment to themselves to read it until it’s finished.  Don’t disappoint them by giving them a shallow, underdeveloped plot or character.  If you use all ten elements discussed above, you have at least a decent chance you’ll have a happy reader, perhaps even a loyal one.

Conclusion

I am by no means a New York Times bestselling author, but I aspire to be.  Every day I read bestselling novels, and all these points are what I’ve derived from the books I’ve read.  I do implement all elements into my writing, and I certainly hope to one day be a memorable writer.

Do you have any points to add?  Have I missed anything?  If you can think of any tips that I’ve missed, please feel free to add them into the comments.  I’m happy to hear any additions!

Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming Soon!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.

Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website by clicking here.  



Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Simple Things You Can do to Minimize Twitter Time!

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE Twitter!  It’s a fundamental tool for all authors or anyone who wants major social media exposure.  But do you find yourself spending a lot of time on it?

What I’m going to talk about in this post is how to do increase your Twitter following, increase retweets of your material AND increase engagement, all while CUTTING the amount of time you spend on Twitter by half!

1.  Place all the posts you want to schedule in a Word document.  I recommend using Hootsuite as a template first, so you can not only stick within the character limit but also shrink any links, etc.

2.  Scheduled posts should include book and author shout-outs (or industry-related posts), your own book plugs and any other personal tweets. 

Note:  I include plugs for my own books, reminder tweets for upcoming releases, deals or free days, and tweets to entice readers to subscribe to my site.

3.  Utilize a service such as Buffer; mostly because you can have several different Twitter accounts and work simultaneously for the same low price (I use the yearly plan, which is about $100).  Plus it’s a lot faster and more user-friendly than Hootsuite or other scheduling applications.

4.  Integrate author shout-outs, your own book plugs and various tweets into Buffer daily by spreading them out.  The ratio I use is approximately five book/author shout-outs for every one of my own book plugs. 

Tip:  Use the shuffle feature so your tweets are evenly mixed.

5.  Select ‘notifications’ on your Twitter account once or twice daily (less if you don’t have as many followers and more if you do).  Those who have retweeted or mentioned your tweets, add them to your Buffer account to retweet them throughout the day or week.

6.  Either copy and paste to your Buffer account from the Word document (mentioned in step 1), or add the tweet to the document if required.  (I usually thank the person with a tweet first, and then if they retweet or mention me again I’ll add them to my shout-out list).

Tip:  Use the ‘find’ feature in Word by either hitting control and F simultaneously, or click on ‘edit’ and then ‘find’.  This captures the tweet much faster than scrolling through the whole list.  Also, use ALT + TAB to switch between Twitter and Word.

7.  If you have someone who is very loyal and retweeting you numerous times, mix up your mentions of the person.  Be creative and noble to them; give them accolades for their work and loyalty.  Don’t be shy!

8.  Make sure you keep your own book plugs fresh.  Don’t use the same ones all the time.  Mix them up with enticing quotes, favourite book lines, role-playing, five-star reviews, etc.

9.  To keep things simple, use the profile outline that the author has on Twitter, or use the same idea.  If they placed that note on their account, most likely that’s how the author wants to be recognized.  But don’t be afraid to be creative!

10.  Don’t forget to use hashtags!  Where you can, slip in a hashtag, especially if the author uses the hashtag in their Twitter profile.  If they do this, clearly the hashtag is important to them.

If you would like more detail on how to use Hootsuite and/or Buffer, how to set up your book plugs and what to write about your book in your tweets, please see ‘How to Get Followers on Twitter.  I used the tips in this book religiously and I’m very proud of how much knowledge I have acquired!

Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website by clicking here.  

If you would like to subscribe to Sandy's monthly newsletter and get a free ebook, click here.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stuck in a Twitter Rut? Do This One Thing and Watch What Happens!


Although I was very proud to be at 8900 followers, I seemed to have been stuck there for months and months.  Still utilizing all my Twitter tools and such, I found myself in a rut

So I observed some of my most loyal followers to see if they were suffering from the same malaise.  What I found was that I had missed the boat on a very valuable tool:

Giving others a shout out


I mean, I had been doing that before, so it wasn’t anything new to me.  But what I learned is the frequency of shout-outs versus all other posts, including your own book plugs makes a significant difference.

The most successful Twitter followers appeared to be doing shout outs around fifty percent more than their own book plugs. 

So I tried it.


I began scheduling my Tweets, using Hootsuite, approximately every half hour.  I would pop in all my own book plugs for the day first, using the auto schedule feature, and then I would create book and author shout-outs for my followers and insert them.

What happened was extreme.


Within one and a half weeks, I was up over 150 followers.  And on some days I had so many retweets and book shout-outs from others, I almost couldn’t keep up with them.

If you need some examples of things to post for others, here are a few samples of actual Tweets that I send regularly:

KEEPING KYLEE is Book Two in the TEXAS BOYS FALLING FAST series!  Available now from @JanRomes It's a must read! http://ow.ly/zm2tk

@AJWaines is a psychological thriller writer, #author of THE EVIL BENEATH a spine-tingling thriller that I loved! http://ow.ly/zQiz9

and for something a little different:

For spine-tingling thrillers, see @JohnDolanAuthor and pick up EVERYONE BURNS, HUNGRY GHOSTS or THE POISON TREE http://ow.ly/z8zVG

I also placed in my profile blurb that I support those who support me, which has helped. And don't forget to say thank you when someone retweets you if you don't have time to create a shout-out.  Last, make sure to engage with your followers.  If someone tweets you directly, respond to them!

If you need more direction on Twitter use, and some help with how to schedule posts and create shout-outs on Hootsuite and/or Buffer, please pick up this handy-dandy book loaded with simple tips and tricks to get you going!


One other way to get more followers and more eyes on you is to do guest posts.  If anyone is interested in having me guest post on their blog, or guest posting on mine, please feel free to contact me.

COMING SOON! My next release NO THANKS, MOMMY, I PEED YESTERDAY a funny kid-style memoir!  For a free sneak peak, click here

To subscribe to my monthly newsletter for free, click here.  You get a free copy of my romantic suspense BLESSED AND BETRAYED, plus news on discounts, freebies and new releases!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Take a Break! Stop Being So Serious!

Photo courtesy of Inmagine.com
Normally I write about serial murderers, adultery, betrayal, and personal struggles, but I felt inspired to take a break from being serious and enjoy some laughs....and share some of those laughs with my friends.

I've been home with my kids this summer, and while I've been busy writing a couple of manuscripts, I've also been inspired to continue with a little piece of work I started when my kids were born.  

As my girls learned to talk, I discovered that some of the things that they came out with were just downright hilarious!  So I began a diary.  The diary grew and grew and over time it has become a manuscript, and now it's large enough that I can share it with you.  

The book is to be called:

No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday 

It will be available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format!

The book is a cross between a memoir and a diary, sort of 'Kids Say the Darndest Things' style.  It's a short read but worth it.  It's guaranteed to give you laughs that you can share with your friends both big and small!

I invite you to come check it out; if you don't already, subscribe or follow me so you'll be the first to know when it is here!

If you're interested in getting a copy for the purpose of a review, I'm happy to send you one for free.  Just send me a message!


Happy reading!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ten Quick and Dirty Twitter Tips

1.  Only follow people who are of interest to you.  Do not follow back just because they follow you first.  Remember: they could be simply gathering lots of followers just to look good and may not actually add value to you.  Don't waste your time as unfollowing people can be a painstaking process.


2.  Do not follow someone simply because they have lots of followers.  Check their tweet count; if they're inactive or not very active, what's the point following them?


3.  Do not follow someone if they are not following/followed by many people, yet they have many tweets, this could mean that the account is simply automated and that they're not actually on Twitter often.  You cannot automate following people and that's one clear way of telling.


4.  Use justunfollow.com weekly to unfollow people who are not following you back or are inactive.  The more useful people you have following you the better.  Conversely, the more useful people that are following you, the better.


5.  Do not follow someone because they followed you and they have millions of followers but few tweets.  This is a waste of time as chances are they won't have much to offer you by way of shared information or sharing your information.


6.  Once you are past 1000 followers, you should start using your lists.  Here is a post 'Authors: When is it Time to Shift Gears on Twitter?' outlining how to do that.


7.  Even if you're following someone who isn't following you back, if they are offering valuable/sharable tweets, you should still follow them.  Don't think of Twitter as a popularity contest.  Twitter, if used properly, can be a valuable source of information.


8.  If someone spams you or replies to a tweet with irrelevant information, simply to offer a plug for their product/service, unfollow and/or block them immediately.  This is bad form and clearly shows that they aren't going to be helpful to you as they're unfamiliar with proper Twitter etiquette.


9.  One way to be more beneficial to your Twitter audience and therefore earn yourself more followers and retweets is to use a service such as Buffer or Hootsuite (I use both).  Both offer paid and unpaid services where you can spread out/schedule tweets (your own and other people's tweets) so you can work more efficiently.


10.  Never pay for followers.  Ever.  Ever. Ever.  Bad form.  Also, you'll end up receiving followers irrelevant to your niche, thus useless to you.  I've never tried it personally, but this is the main complaint I hear from those who have tried it.


Bonus!  Finally, if you're new to Twitter and need some help getting started, here's an ebook called 'How to Get Followers on Twitter' that can give you some pointers.  It's a compilation of all my early posts regarding Twitter (under a pen name), including how to use Buffer and Hootsuite, how to get massive retweets and so much more.