#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

#authortoolboxbloghop – Connecting With Readers Through Your Blog

Connecting With Your Readers#authortoolboxbloghop

Connecting with your readers is not only important, it’s also a lot of fun. So, I’ve decided to do a little mini-series about connecting with readers for the next couple of #authortoolboxbloghop posts. Hope you enjoy! Also, I apologize for getting my post up late today, it’s been a busy week.

As a writer, connecting with your readers is essential. I’ve seen a lot of writers make a concentrated effort to connect with other writers (which is also important), but neglect making connections with readers.  With all the technology we have now, it’s easier than ever to connect with readers all around the world. Today, I’ll be focusing on making connections through blogging.

Here a few tips that have helped me:

Determine who you readers are. Before anything else, you have to know who you’re readers are. It might be tempting to say “everyone”, but while we all want “everyone” to read our books, your outreach will not be effective if your target readership is too broad.  I write YA, and specifically fantasy with a fairy-tale twist, so I know I want to connect with others who enjoy reading fantasy and fairy-tale retellings.

See what kind of blogs your readers follow. Once you’ve determined your ideal readers, then you need to find the kind of blogs they like to follow. A google search can help with this.  Type in your genre followed by  “book blog”.  I’ve discovered the YA community is great, and many of the readers are also avid bloggers. They enjoy book blogs with book reviews, reading challenges, and awesome giveaways.

Format your blog accordingly. After you’ve seen the kind of blogs your readers like, you can format yours similarly. Since I know my readers like book reviews, challenges and giveaways, I make sure to incorporate those things into my blog.

Interact with similar blogs. Not only do you want to research blogs to give you ideas what your readers like, but you also want to interact with these blogs. Comments and likes are key in making connections with others. I keep a list of my favorite YA blogs and set aside time each week to visit and comment on those blogs.

Participate in blog hops or challenges. This is taking it a step further than just commenting or liking. Many communities have a blog hop (similar to this one) or some kind of other challenge where participants search for said challenge (often by a hashtag on social media) to comment and like posts that are part of the challenge. I participate in “Top Ten Tuesday”, a challenge where the host gives a topic for each week and the participants list their top ten books on that topic. It’s a lot of fun to see who else might have listed the same books you did. You can check out my last Top Ten Tuesday post here.

These are just some of the things that have helped me make some great friends and find my readers via blogging. What are some ways you make connections with readers through your blog? Let me know in the comments!

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This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

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#authortoolboxbloghop, diyMFA book club, For Writers

The diyMFA Book

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Today for the #authortoolboxbloghop, I wanted to share one of my favorite writing resources. It is the diyMFA (Do-it-yourself Master of Fine Arts) book by Gabriela Periera. The title says it all – this book is set up to help you complete all the things you would do in a Master of Fine Arts program without the price of a university program. Not only is it perfect for the writer who wants to work towards a master degree, it’s also filled with tips to help any writer. There is also a website with even more resources for writers, and you can check it out here.

The book is not a typical craft book. It focuses on writing with focus, reading with purpose, and building your community. It is designed to help you finish your novel, and has been an excellent motivator for me.  I’ve also met some great people through the book’s community.

One of the things I like most about the book is the way you can tailor it to fit your needs as a writer. Gabriela has created a guideline to follow, but you choose the resources and customize the exercises to fit within your realm of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction.  You can even take it a step further and make it genre-specific.

Right now Gabriela is hosting a book club, and I’m really enjoying it. She sends out prompts that help get your creative juices flowing. (I’ll have more on that in a later post.) There is also a facebook group where you can connect with other writers. If you’re interested in participating, you can sign up here. I recommend it for anyone who’s working to finish up their manuscript, or for anyone who wants to connect with other writers.

Have you read the book? If so, what did you think? Are you already participating in the book club? Let me know in the comments!

You can follow along with the #authortoolboxbloghop, or join in if you want. All the details are here.

 

 

 

 

 

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

NaNoWriMo Prep – #AuthorToolbox

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It’s almost NaNoWriMo time. For those who haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo stands for National Writing Month and it happens every November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in one month’s time. It averages out to about 1,667 words per day. It’s a great motivator for writers! You can sign up to participate and find out more info here.

I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year (my fourth time), but this time I’ll be a rebel (someone who doesn’t start with a blank page to complete the 50,000 words). Here are a few things I’ve found that will help you reach the  win (50,000 words).

1. Commit to writing the words, then tell your friends and family. If you’re wishy-washy about it – like “I might have to try it” or “Maybe I’ll have time to do this” you won’t finish. The first time I attempted NaNo, this is how I was and I didn’t even get halfway there. The next year I made a solid commitment and I reached my goal. Part of committing is making sure family and friends know it, so they realize that sometimes you might not be able to go out when you still have words to type.

2. Decide on a specific time to write your words. This is different for different people -some like early mornings, others like late nights. For me, I write during the mid-morning. My “day job” is more of an afternoon/evening job, so mid-morning between 10 and noon works best for me. You just need to find the time that works best for you.

3. Celebrate the little wins. The NaNo site has badges you win for each word count goal( 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and so on) which I love. Every time I earn a new one, it gives me another burst of energy to write more! One of my writer friends on Instagram had a great idea. She made a list of little rewards for herself once she reaches each one of her word count goals. It’s such a cool idea, I’m going to try it this year. 🙂

4. Keep a name list of your characters. This is the best way to keep track of all those minor characters. I sometimes got into a tangle when I couldn’t remember a specific characters name – “I think it was Jack, or was it Jake?” Now I keep a list as I add characters so I don’t have to go back  through my manuscript to check the name.

5. Don’t try to edit as you’re writing. If you keep going back and rereading what you’ve already written, you’re defeating the purpose of NaNo. You just want to get the story out, and that’s what the first draft is for. Yes, it will be a mess, but worry about fixing it later on, after NaNo is over. I didn’t have a problem with this too much, unless I tried to go back and read what I’d written the day before. Only read enough to remember where you are in the plot of your story.

6. Try to get ahead of your word count in the first week. This is helpful for two reasons. One, you have more energy in the beginning, and second, it gives you a padding for those days you just can’t quite make the word count. This was so helpful for me. The first time I won Nano, I’m convinced this is why. I had gotten well ahead of my word count in the first week, and it compensated for times when I wasn’t able to make the day’s word count.

7. Write some every day, even if it is just a little. Even if you can’t get in all your words, steal whatever time you can to write a little. A hundred words is better than zero. Some days I just didn’t have the time to get the full word count, but even if I got a few in, I felt that I had still accomplished something. It helped to keep me from losing momentum. And if you do skip a day, don’t skip more than one in a row. This is a sure way of losing momentum, as I discovered the first year I tried Nano.

These are some things that have really helped me with NaNo. To some extent, I think you have to find what works for you. If you are doing NaNoWriMo, a great resource to check out is the book No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty. You can find it on Goodreads here.  It’s basically a guide for completing NaNo. Chris Baty is the creator of NaNoWriMo, and there is a little introduction in the beginning of the book about how NaNo started, which I thought was really interesting.

Are you participating in NaNo this November? If you are, add me as a buddy. My username is charebear23. 🙂 What helps you reach the win? Let me know in the comments!

This post is part of the author toolbox blog hop hosted by Raimey Gallant. Find out more about it here.

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

#AuthorToolboxBloghop: The Foundation For Writing is Reading

 

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Everyone knows writers write, but not everyone realizes how much reading a writer must do. Reading is one of the most important things a writer does. A writer who doesn’t read is like a doctor who performs surgery without ever having been trained to do so.

If you want to be a writer, you MUST do two things above all others-READ a lot and WRITE a lot.-Stephen King

Reading is what educates you to become a writer. Reading helps you hone your craft, allows you to see what does and what doesn’t work in a book, and empowers your vocabulary.

Honing Your Craft – When it comes to honing your craft, you’ll want to read some craft books. There are so many to choose from, sometimes it can seem overwhelming to know which one you should use. You can narrow down which books you might need by knowing how you write best. Plotters will want a good book on outlining, and every writer will need books that give tips on editing and revising. You might also find a book about writing for your genre helpful. Here a few of my favorite craft books with links to them on Goodreads:

  1. Story Genius by Lisa Cron  : This book is great for both pantsers and planners. It helps you dig deep and determine what your characters really want. I highly recommend this for any writer.
  2. The Writer’s Digest Writing Clinic by Kelly Nickell: I love this book, because it helps with productivity. It breaks everything down into pieces, and gives tips for making each piece stronger, then gives you exercises for practicing those tips.
  3. Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell: This book has some wonderful tips to help you revise your first or second draft.
  4. Writing Great Books For Young Adults by Regina Brooks: This is ideal for those writing Young Adult. It gives a lot of genre specific tips as well plenty of general ones.
  5. Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino: Another thing writers have to think about is social media and everything that comes with it.  This book explains how to create an author platform, and how to best use social media.

 

Knowing What Works – When it comes to knowing what works and what doesn’t, you need to read books in your genre. Look for titles on the bestseller’s list, especially those that are there for several weeks. These are the books that are working for their genre. Look at reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. What do the readers in your genre like? What do they not like?  Some things work in certain genres that don’t work as well in others. In YA, writers often use first person. They use fragments to convey what the main character is thinking. They are typically fast paced and don’t include pages of description.  These things might not work as well for other genres like romance or literary fiction.

Empowering Your Vocabulary – Everything you read will help you with this, but you have to read a lot! The more you read the more words you encounter thus strengthening your vocab. Playing word games is another great way to get in some vocabulary practice. I love Scrabble and even have an app for it on my phone, but there are plenty of other word games you can play. There are so many word game apps, just try putting in word games and see what comes up. Anytime you have to wait, you can kill time by playing a word game.

If you struggle with fitting in reading time, try making a list. I make a TBR(to-be-read) list for each month. I include mostly genre-specific books, but every so often I add another genre in and I always try to include one craft book on the list. Sometimes I don’t read everything on my list, and sometimes I switch out one book for another, but the important thing is that I have a goal to work toward.

What are some of your favorite craft books? What do you do to make time for reading? Do you have a favorite word game? Let me know in the comments!

I’ve been wanting to start a section on my blog for writing tips, and then I found this: the author toolbox blog hop. It’s a great way to connect with other writers and share tips. It is hosted by Raimey Gallant and more information can be found here.