Thursday, March 31, 2022

Goodbye, Dog Days!

The original title of this piece was "Old Dogs, New Tricks". Then I recalled using that same title in 2016. But that's okay. I like my new title better. 

The phrase "dog days" kept nagging at me, so I conferred with Merriam-Webster to get a clear understanding of the term's meaning. Often said in reference to the hot, muggy time between early July and early September, it refers to the typically uncomfortable, steamy temperatures north of the equator during those two months. Then I saw it had a second definition: "a period of stagnation or inactivity". That pretty well sums up the last two years, thanks to COVID-19 and family. Hence, "Old dogs, new tricks" rolled seamlessly into "Goodbye, Dog Days".

We've had some excellent posts recently on the topic of Kindle Vella. I planned to serialize a novel (then 2 or 3 more, perhaps, if the "test drive" went well). However, a brainstorm hit me with unexpected suddenness. While not reinventing the "wheel", it pointed out to me that one size does not fit all. Several forms of writing (some books, some a bit different) would lend themselves to a serial format.

I remember reading Letters for Emily by Camron Wright. Published in 2002, this poignant, insightful story chronicles the last years of a grandfather dying of Alzheimer's Disease and his desire to leave something of value to his favorite granddaughter while he still has enough memory to fulfill this final wish. Why did this book come to mind? It makes me think of a series of letters, perhaps from a young husband to his wife in WW2, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Or they could be from a parent to children or grandchildren, a son or daughter to a parent, a brother or sister to a sibling. Children's letters from summer camp. Love letters from those separated by distance or circumstances. And the list goes on. Of course, all such letters should be approved for public print by their authors if they are still living or by the holder of that correspondence. Also, they would need to appeal to a significant range of readers because of their humor, their poignancy, their wisdom, or some other quality that would make readers want to follow more of the writer's words. Brief comments on the circumstances surrounding each letter would add to reader interest.

Some poetry may offer another potential for serialization. While not a separate genre on KV, its content may fit one of the categories (Romance? Life?), especially if it includes a brief explanation of what inspired the poem. Why might poetry be relevant today? On occasion, I watch talent shows such as The Voice, American Idol, Britain's Got Talent, etc. Sometimes, singers—even very young ones—come with music they've composed and words that can reduce the listener to tears. We are living in difficult times for all of us, but especially for young ones who are struggling with their present and wondering if they will have a future. Often song lyrics are simply words from the heart set to music. Such words can touch those who hear (or read) them. By extension, groups of serialized poems on a given topic could do the same by giving expression to feelings that readers may be unable to articulate on their own.

Back to "Goodbye, Dog Days". Saying adios to inactivity and stagnation is the new order of the day. I am considering an alternative to the traditional novel, but one that lends itself to effective serialization. Once my idea is fully developed and refined, I will share details.

Are you considering a future with Kindle Vella? If so, and if you want to share, please feel free to do so.

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels lean toward the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. You can contact her through her website:  LSLaneBooks.com 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Women's History Month

Alrighty, folks, we're winding down on Women's History Month (which includes International Women's Day), but that doesn't mean we have to stop reading relevant books on March 31st! So, roll up your reading sleeves, and let's march forward with some reading lists for your consideration:

Moving on to young adults:
And finally, for the kiddies:
If you have any favorite books, old or new, that highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, go ahead and leave a comment and let us know!

Ann Parker authors the award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series published by Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks. During the day, she wrangles words for a living as a science editor/writer and marketing communications specialist (which is basically a fancy term for "editor/writer"). Her midnight hours are devoted to scribbling fiction. Visit AnnParker.net for more information.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Revisiting Writing Distractions and Old Manuscripts

A few days ago, Polly Iyer wrote about an ugly world that started for her in 2015. Those comments resonated on so many levels for me. I don't remember what I was doing in 2015, but, by 2016 and that dreadful presidential election, my creativity had waned to almost nothing. By the first quarter of 2017, I simply crawled under a rock with 43 J.D. Robb In Death books and read them all consecutively until I was caught up. That took until early April.

Then I gardened. A lot. 

And tried to paint again. The creative muse didn't like that. My work was simply dreadful.

Finally I cooked for a few months. And gained a lot of weight!

But I didn't write. Not until I started really thinking about how the country could heal some of its divisiveness. First I wrote some letters to the editor. Then some blog posts. 

And then I started thinking about fiction and stories that might help me cope... and maybe also others. I thought about all those JD Robb books, and how they saved my soul and sanity earlier in the year.

So, for National Novel Writing Month 2017, I wrote a story about a very conservative rancher and a sexy feminist widow who had the hots for each other. Bigtime. I finished the story at about 75,000 words in that one month. (I had never done that well in a NaNoWriMo before.)

Then I stuck the manuscript in a drawer because I couldn't read it again at that point. Gag. It just didn't seem true to life. Too impossible. Sex wasn't enough to save these two. Maybe not even true love. The fundamental differences between the main characters were simply too vast, so we all went our separate ways. Better and easier to just stick with kindred spirits to survive the times. 

Right? 

And, besides, the theme probably wouldn't age well. When this presidency was over, it would be forgotten.

Right?

Wrong.

I pulled out that manuscript a few weeks ago to look at it with a fresh eye and for possible publication on Kindle Vella, and decided I loved the characters, including the secondary players who might have books of their own in this romance series. Since I wanted a 3rd title to put up on Kindle Vella, I thought, why the hell not? Because I was publishing one episode at a time, I could always tweak the sections that needed revision to seem more plausible. 

Plus, based on my Vella experiences since January, statistics say a weekly episode release is most viral. This will be a good experiment to test that.

So, debuting in April, you'll get a chance to read this:

Click to enlarge

And I hope you try it! For readers who don't know how Kindle Vella works, here's a quick overview:

http://amazon.com/kindlel-vella
http://amazon.com/kindle-vella

For writers who want to know more, go to your Amazon KDP page for the Kindle Vella links. There are also some very good Facebook support groups where you can ask questions. Other than the ease of use on this publishing platform and their bonus program, the supportive community is something I really appreciate. Give it a try and see what you think. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments!

Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil. She spends her days drinking coffee, writing, and herding trolls. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and heaven help her, TikTok.
  

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Writing in the Midst of Too Many Distractions

What’s going on in the world is not a mere distraction in the writing process, it’s a mind-bending, hard-to-fathom series of catastrophes with roots in a few different causes. Let me explain.
Without getting specific and naming names, the genesis of my struggles (and I can only specify this post by how it affects me), started way back in 2015 with ugliness rearing its political head, causing a fissure in this country that goes on to this day. We have had divisions in the United States before, but never have they been more apparent, more deeply felt, with two sides locked into their conflicting beliefs, each charting a course that the other side disparages except maybe those that triggered the Civil War. These beliefs are not just polite disagreements but a vicious clash of ideas and direction, steeped in anger and finger-pointing and buoyed by lies and disinformation, promoted by men and women with their own political and personal agendas. Politics has always been a dirty business, going back to the Founders, but with so much at stake, it has now become more of a power struggle than ever before with unimaginable consequences. Many in positions of authority have forgotten that their job is to take care of the people of their states, instead becoming caretakers of their own financial and commercial interests. This applies to both sides of the political spectrum, but the result further divides the country into the haves and have-nots. These divisions are said by many to be the beginning of the end of big D Democracy. The unfortunate part is some want that to happen. It’s all about power and control.
Next, at the very end of 2019, a virus that started in China hit the world with a vengeance. It mirrored the Spanish flu of a hundred years before, which took the lives of millions, including my grandfather. This new corona virus, named COVID 19, became a rallying cry from both sides, where black was white and good was evil. Some claimed the science was nothing more than hocus-pocus, with the learned doctors being called charlatans as they had to modify their medical positions as the virus mutated. People died by the hundreds of thousands for believing false claims about the virus, many finally understanding their folly on their deathbeds. To make matters worse, and because so many people ignored the methods to eradicate the virus, different strains developed, each worse than the one before it. Now, into its third year, things are finally getting back to normal, whatever that is these days, but I for one will not forego my mask quite yet.
Putting all that aside, we sit in our living rooms each day watching one powerful country wreak havoc on another for no other reason than to restore a lost empire and prevent that weaker country from choosing democracy over tyranny. We see babies and children murdered by bombs, hospitals leveled, families fleeing from their destroyed homes, and we can’t do a damn thing to stop it because it might generate a third world war, one that would inevitably result in nuclear destruction. We are impotent and frustrated, but we’re not alone in those feelings. Countries have joined together to sanction the despot who is resolute in his obsession to conquer the weaker country, though he couldn’t have conceived the bravery and fortitude of its people in fighting back. Even if he’s ultimately victorious, it will be a Pyrrhic victory because the vanquished will never be subjugated to his will. The war is creating unlikely heroes: the TV comedy star who becomes president of the country and rises to the occasion of wartime leader, the woman who flashes a sign on the Russian nightly news warning of the war to an uninformed public, the journalists who are working and dying to bring the facts to the world, the men who carry their families to safety before returning to fight for their freedom. Yes, this is what FREEDOM is all about.

In spite of all that’s going on, ordinary people are being taxed by higher gas prices, not because of the war, but because of greedy oil suppliers that once again see a way to make money. And still we complain and blame the blameless. We’re facing food shortages because of supply chain issues, and still we complain because it always comes back to our pocketbooks. Heaven help us if we had to survive World War II when many of our parents and grandparents had to buckle their belts and make do with what they could to exist. You know, for the cause of FREEDOM.

So those of us who are having problems writing might for once claim a reason to be unable to concentrate. Our written stories seem petty and insignificant in the light of what others are experiencing right now. We try to ignore the aforementioned divisions in our country, the truckers who rally to protest about mask mandates, the children dying before our eyes, the cities bombed to smithereens, the psychopathic tyrant who has no other consideration than to restore his country to the greatness of the bygone era of Peter the Great and to hell with anyone who stands in his way. Just keep in mind that those few moments we can write a chapter or two allows us to block out all the world’s problems that have become our problems. It doesn’t last long, but even that brief respite helps.

Write on, friends.
Polly Iyer is the author of ten novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, Indiscretion, and her newest, we are but WARRIORS. Also, four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Don't forget - giveaway closing today

In case you missed Maryann Miller's post last week, the Lucky Shenanigans Giveaway closes today. The prize is a $300 Amazon eGift Card - no purchase necessary. To enter, visit the authors' Amazon pages and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Maryann's short story collection, Beyond the Crack in the Sidewalk, is featured in the contest. Among the stories in the collection is "Maybe Someday" in which Samson wonders what is down the road that draws people. Maybe he should follow them someday. It won the Page Edwards Short Story Award. This book, too, is available in many formats, and has Spanish editions in paper, electronic and audio.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

2022 April - June Writers Conferences and Workshops

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members. Note that information for this list is accurate as to what was available in December 2021. Dates and formats may change. Some events may be postponed or cancelled.

Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires.

Unfortunately, with the pandemic, many in person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or online classes and lectures. Virtual events allow for a wider audience and lower costs since attendance does not require travel and lodging. Many plans remain up in the air as the situation shifts.

April 3 - 9, 2022 Sirenland Writer's Conference https://sirenland.net/

April 7 - 10, 2022 Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a live event. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required. http://www.leftcoastcrime.org/

April 7 - 10, 2022 Chanticleer Authors Conference, Bellingham, Washington. Hotel Bellwether will be in person. https://www.chantireviews.com/chanticleer-conference/

April 9, 2022 A Rally For Writers Conference in Lansing, Michigan is the tentative plan. To be announced. https://arallyofwriters.wordpress.com/

April 18 - 24, 2022 Breakout Novel Intensive in Hood River Oregon will be an in-person and online event. Visit the site for more information. https://www.free-expressions.com/breakout-novel-intensive-hood-river-or

April 22 - 24, 2022 Malice Domestic Convention, Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland will be a live event. http://malicedomestic.org/

April 27 - May 1, 2022 The Muse and the Marketplace, GrubStreet’s National Conference for Writers in Boston, Massachusetts will be a hybrid event this year. http://museandthemarketplace.com/

April 28 - 30, 2022 Northern Colorado Writers Conference will be a hybrid conference this year. http://www.northerncoloradowriters.com/

April 29 - May 1, 2022 Pikes Peak Writers Conference will be held at the Colorado Springs Doubletree Hilton Hotel. https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc

April 29 - May 1, 2022 Ravencon Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention will take place in Richmond, Virginia. http://www.ravencon.com/

May 4 - 2, 2022  Longleaf Writers' Conference, Seaside, Florida. Tentative plans are for an in person event but is subject to change. www.longleafwritersconference.com

May 6 - 7, 2022  Lakefly Writing Contests and Conference will be held at the Oshkosh Convention Center in Wisconsin. https://lakeflywriters.org/

May 6 - 7, 2022 Atlanta Writers Conference, an in-person experience with a virtual option for all activities: agent/editor meetings for critiques and pitches, a workshop, Q&A panels, free talks, an award ceremony & more. https://atlantawritersconference.com/

May 12 - 15, 2022 Stokercon Horror Conference,in Denver Colorado. https://www.stokercon.com/

May 14, 2022 Wesleyan Writers Conference, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. is offering a live and in-person One Day All Day YA Writers Conference  http://www.wesleyan.edu/writing/conference/

May 14 - 17, 2022 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference will be in-person at the beautiful Kachemak Bay Campus in downtown Homer, Alaska. http://writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu/

May 25 - 28, 2022 North Words Writers Symposium, Skagway, Alaska is scheduled for an in-person event. http://nwwriterss.com/

May 29 - June 2, 2021 Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference, Asheville, NC https://www.blueridgeconference.com/

May 31 - June 4, 2022 ThrillerFest in New York City, NY is a live event. http://thrillerfest.com/

June 2 - 5, 2022 Writers Police Academy, is in Green Bay and Appleton, Wisconsin. (Transportation between locations is provided by the WPA) https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/

June 2 - 5, 2022 Indiana University Writers' Conference, Bloomington, Indiana will be an in person event this year. https://iuwc.indiana.edu/

June 6 - 12, 2022 VCFA Novel Retreat, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont will be an on-campus retreat. https://vcfa.edu/novel-retreat/

June 5 - 10, 2022 Annual West of the Moon Writer’s Retreat, New Harmony, Indiana has plans to be in person. http://westofthemoonretreat.com/the-retreat/

June 12 - 16, 2022 Tinker Mountain Writers, Hollins University, Virginia will be in person this year. Proof of vaccination is required. https://www.hollins.edu/academics/workshops-online-writing-courses/tinker-mountain-writers-workshop-residential/

June 12 - 18, 2022  Kenyon Review Fiction Workshop, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio is excited to offer a new suite of online programs for summer. https://kenyonreview.org/writers/fiction/

June 16 - 26, 2022 Fine Arts Residency Conference Pacific University campus, Forest Grove, Oregon. https://www.pacificu.edu/masters-fine-arts-writing/residency-writers-conference

June 16 - 18, 2022 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Elizabethtown, Kentucky will be a live event.  http://www.kychristianwriters.com/

June 20 - 26, 2022 Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, Bemidji State University, Minnesota. Conference will be in person.  http://www.northwoodswriters.org

June 26 - July 2, 2022 Chesapeake Writers’ Conference at the St. Mary's College of Maryland hopes to offer an in person event this year. Check site for updates. https://www.smcm.edu/events/chesapeake-writers-conference/

June 26 - July 23, 2022 New York State Summer Writers Institute, Skidmore College, New York will be online this year. https://www.skidmore.edu/summerwriters/

June 26 - July 9, 2022  Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, Visit the site for online reservations for events. https://www.kenyonreview.org/workshops/young-writers/



Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



Thursday, March 10, 2022

How to nail your book stall display at conferences and events

Last month, my friend Heather Kindt and I sold our books at Albuquerque Comic Con, our fifth event where we shared table space, learned and relayed each other’s pitches, and vied for the attention of new readers.

This being our fifth time selling together, in addition to each of us attending writing- and book-related conferences individually, we’ve honed what we both believe is key to a successful event: our display.


Event #3: FanExpo Denver, October, 2021
 

Looks pretty good, right? I’ve boiled down the most important elements to three, all starting with S for easy remembering purposes. You’ll see by the end which one was missing in that FanExpo pic up there.

First S: Signage

Anyone displaying wares knows signage is important. What’s less obvious is which size, type, and placement is ideal. Let’s take a trip into the past, to our first two events.


Event #1


Event #2

Oktoberfest (Event 1) was outdoors, so it didn’t occur to me that my too-small poster (which was fine for signings) was actually too small for large indoor events as well. You can only see about half of it in Event 2, which is certainly less eye-catching than Heather’s floor banner.

Poor small, sad poster.

By Event 3 I’d figured out that I needed an equally large floor banner. I designed mine to feature all of my covers, but Heather’s single-cover version gets lots of compliments because it’s gorgeous.

Looking beyond our amazing Stranger Things cosplay, you can see laminated genre posters, a QR code for those who enjoy ebooks, and, on the table, framed, smaller posters to highlight individual titles.

Second S: Shelving

This one took me until Event 3 to figure out, because Heather, who used shelving for the first time, totally kicked my butt in sales. Now, her books are gorgeous and her pitches concise and intriguing, so obviously shelving wasn’t her only asset. I became a true believer in shelving when in Event 4, my first with my own display shelves, we both did so well that we sold out of multiple titles.


Shelves add depth and, more importantly, get your wares closer to eye level. I put my best-selling title on the top tier very intentionally.

Third S: Swag

Confession: I love swag. I love handing it out more than picking it up.

You might not think swag is technically part of a display but consider its purpose: swag is meant to spark interest. Anything that catches the eye, especially if it’s something that can be taken and enjoyed, keeps folks at the table longer. If your swag is especially fun, it can cause excitement, and that offers an emotional tie to the person and you/your product. I find this is the case with my keys and dragon swag.

Both are little charms and each “goes with” one of my books: the keys with The Fourth Descendant, and the dragons with Drake and the Fliers. I order large supplies of each and almost always run out. They’re inexpensive, folks love them, and often they open the door for someone new to hear a book pitch. I’ve used postcards, magnets, and bookmarks, which are also popular, but not as much as the keys and dragons.

Now, go forth with the three S’s!

But, first, if you’ve sold things at similar events and have your own display tips, share in the comments!

Allison Maruska is a YA and mystery / suspense author, blogger, teacher, mom, wife, coffee and wine consumer, and owl enthusiast. Her blog includes humor posts, short stories, and posts on writing strategy, parenting, and teaching. Find her at AllisonMaruska.com


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Time Sensitive: Balancing World Events and Writing Business

Note: Contest 1 closes midnight March 9th. Contest 2 closes on March 17th. Scroll down for more details.


Many writers don't enjoy the marketing and promoting side of the business of being an author. Myself, included.


Those first steps in the overall process - the writing - creating characters - coming up with a plot - finding the perfect setting - and then ending up with a finished novel - are the most satisfying. As Neil Gaiman, who writes the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book  says, “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

Still, we have to promote if we want our books to rise in the rankings at Amazon - the giant retailer that controls so much when it comes to book sales and a force in the business that we can't ignore. There are millions and millions of books listed on Amazon and where does ours land in that mix? Unless an author is with a big publisher who does a ton of advertising and marketing while we happily write our next story, where we land is largely up to us. 

Like some of my friends, that promotional part of the business of writing is my least favorite thing to do, and that becomes even harder when world events slam into my emotions. Every time something tragic happens, like 9/11, the Sandy Hook School Shooting, horrific weather events, it's like that awful news freezes me, unless I want to write about it and my reactions like I did for so many years when I was a newspaper columnist. I have a hard time writing anything else, let alone doing the marketing and promoting so necessary to keep a few shekels rolling in now and then in royalties. 

This current situation with the war in Ukraine is no exception. The day the war started was the same day a contest I was sponsoring also started. 

Even though my heart wasn't in it, I needed to share that everywhere on social media.

Even though I sat numbly looking at a blank computer screen, I needed to post information about it on my blog.

But I didn't want to do either one. How could I write a Tweet, a Facebook mention, or a blog post and ignore the elephant in the room? A Tweet from one of my Twitter friends asked a similar question,  “How can I hawk my books while Ukraine is under attack?”

That was a telling question, as well as a tough one. Do we all put our lives and businesses on hold when something awful happens? Another friend responded, “No. If we all freeze in fear and dismay, Putin wins.”

So, the Monday after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, I roused from my sadness and dismay to let my life resume in a something close to normal fashion. First, I had lunch with a friend, something that had been put on hold for two years as we all dealt with COVID, and I started promoting a contest I've sponsored with 30 other authors of literary, historical, and women's novels. 

The contest was organized by BookSweeps - a great site for promoting by the way - and runs until midnight March 9. Two lucky folks can win books, a copy from each of the authors sponsoring the contest; and the first place winner also gets a new Kindle Fire.  


You can win my novel, Evelyn Evolving: A Story of Real Life, plus books from authors like Susan Slater and Nicole Evelina. All you have to do is follow the authors on Bookbub to be entered in the random drawing to win. Click here to enter. 

The top two winners can receive either a signed paperback of my book, if they live in the U.S., or an e-book. Evelyn Evolving is available in paper, audio, and as an e-book and has been translated into French. Details can be found on the book page on my website. 

Participation in that contest had been set up long before Putin made his cowardly move, as was the following one at The Kindle Book Review, so not promoting either contest would have been a waste of my advertising dollars. 


The Lucky Shenanigans Giveaway runs through March 17, and the prize is a $300 Amazon eGift Card. My short story collection, Beyond the Crack in the Sidewalk, is showcased in the contest, but no purchase is necessary. To enter, just visit the authors' Amazon pages and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. Easy-peasy.  Click here to enter. 

Among the stories in the collection is "Maybe Someday" in which Samson wonders what is down the road that draws people. Maybe he should follow them someday. It won the Page Edwards Short Story Award. This book, too, is available in many formats, and has Spanish editions in paper, electronic and audio. 


Writers, how do you balance the two sides of the business? Do you also struggle with writing and promoting when the world seems to be falling apart? What do you do to cope? Please do share in the comments. And let us all take a moment or two to remember what is happening in Ukraine, and, if we are folks who pray, send up one for all the people who are suffering.


 



Award-winning author Maryann Miller has numerous credits as a columnist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, and she also has an extensive background in editing. You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Page read her Blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter 


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Keywords and Hashtags

With the advent of Twitter came the use of hashtags and now they are everywhere. When promoting your book, hashtags are now used as keywords. It's important to get them right. So what are they and how do you use them?

Here a hashtag, there a hashtag, everywhere a hashtag. 

It all starts with the hashtag symbol # plus descriptive words. All keywords are not created equal. If you start to type a hashtag word on Twitter, the number of posts per day will appear, for example #WritingCommunity might say 100 posts today or 100 posts in the last hour.

You should ascertain if your chosen keyword is something people are entering into search engines. When using keywords to promote books, make sure they are popular terms that are used enough that it will generate sales. For example #paranormalromance is better than #love or #relationship.

If a keyword is extremely popular, there may be too much competition for the word. If so, your book may generate at the bottom of a very long list. #Romance is a good example. There are millions of romance novels on the market. So think of popular keywords that make your story stand apart. 

Amazon has an auto-suggest system in its search bar. You begin typing in a word or phrase and Amazon (and Google too) suggests a list of words to finish the phrase. Play with that and see what happens. For example, if you type in Romance, you might see:


Make a list of auto-suggested phrases that relate to your novel. 

When it comes to promoting novels on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In, there are popular hashtags. Pick two to four. You can always re-post the post with new keywords since the traffic on those sites buries your posts within hours. Using different keywords can attract different audiences. However, don't be obnoxious with it. Twenty times in one day is a bit much. There are limits as to how many times someone who follows you wants to see the same content. 

Here are a few of the hundreds of hashtags for books and writing:

#NaNoWriMo, #RomanceWriter, #amwritingromance (or any other genre), #SciFiChat, #KidLitChat, #RWA (Romance Writers of America), #Romance, #Horror, #YA, #History, #WritingTips,  #ammarketing, #amediting, #GetPublished, #BookMarket, #BookMarketing, #PromoTip, #SelfPublishing, #SelfPub, #Publishing, #IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing, #BookMarketing, #WritingPrompt, #StoryStarter, #FridayReads, #BookGiveaway, #MustRead, #LitChat, #StoryFriday, #MustRead, #TeaserTues, #WritingCommunity, #writingcommunity, #writing, #WriteTip, #writingtips, #amwriting, #selfpub, #Kindle, #Kindlegiveaway, #FreeBook, #FreeDownload, #Kindle, #Nook,  #Kobo, #Booksellers, #writersandbooks, #hffrocks, #blackwritersofinstagram, #writersofinstagram, #asgoodasitgets, #novels, #bookbooksbooks

Find the keywords relevant to your book. Every genre, and subgenre, has a hashtag. Use the keywords in your book description on Amazon and on self-publishing sites. Include them in social media posts. Include them in book promotions. You can make one up for your title. It may catch fire. Who knows? Instagram and Bookstagram and TikTok are gaining popularity over Twitter. You may want to add them to your arsenal.

Also remember to tag yourself (@Yourself) on promotional posts too. Your address for Facebook is different from Twitter, Linked-In, and Instagram. Make sure you know your address. It might not be your name. Most people forget them as soon as they sign up. Make a list of your social media and online profile addresses and keep it easily accessible.

Here are a few more lists to work with:

https://top-hashtags.com/hashtag/books/

https://socialmediajustforwriters.com/2020/10/05/105-hashtags-for-writers/ 

https://www.julesbuono.com/330-bookstagram-hashtags-for-instagram-copy-paste-to-grow-fast/

http://best-hashtags.com/hashtag/books/



Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.