I lived my life in books #amwriting

I have never been a person enamoured with that thing called adventure. If there is something exciting going on, I am usually heading in the other direction. For me adventure is trying out a new restaurant, or cutting an extra inch off my hair.

I think the technical term is ‘novelty averse’.

I am the sort of person who feels deeply emotional when hearing an anecdotal story about someone I have never even met. Homeless puppies, sagas of lost journals, can really tear me up. If there’s a spider trapped in a sink, I am the kind of person who rescues it—Ok, maybe not the spider.

Despite this I have lived a million adventures within the pages of a book, and particularly bloodthirsty adventures at that.

Yes, I will confess at this point that I possess particularly violent taste when it comes to other peoples adventures. Torture and killing is absolutely fine in the quest of a good story—the more brutal the better. Our heroes wouldn’t have a chance to shine without a few trials and obstacles in their way.

Let’s face it, a walk in the park never made a hero—unless the walk in the park happened to involve thwarting an attack by alien vampires with secret plans to destroy the earth.

Perhaps it’s just as well that I stick to the books 😉

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A writer’s guide to social media #writing #amwriting

Four and a half years ago I decided to publish a book. It took me nearly four years to make it happen. One of the first things I did at the beginning of this journey was to start a blog…and so began a separate journey into the delights of social media!

Over the four + years I have learnt an awful lot about social media and I thought I would share my insights in regards to writing. Some of the things I dabbled in have worked and some have not, and some are just no brainers that every writer should do.

My top 4 Social Media essentials for a writer!

  1. A blog or Book website: You don’t need to go crazy or even spend money. You can get a great blog (or book website) set up for free using either WordPress or Blogger. There are a few other freebies out there but these two are the big hitters and I have used both. I started blogging life on Blogger but switched over to WordPress soon after. I just found WordPress easier to use and more elegant in design, but that’s just my personal preference. It really doesn’t matter what you use as long as you start something. Blogging should be reasonably frequent. I used to be far more prolific, but once a week at least is fine. I find blogging a great way to get my creative brain working, and it’s a nice way to write about your thoughts and feelings independent to your book. If you are published, plan to publish, or just enjoy writing, I definitely recommend a blog. If you prefer not to deliver articles then I still recommend you have a site of some kind to share and showcase your book or writing. You can easily set up WordPress to have a statice front page (like a website) rather than the typical scrolling blog posts, and there are plenty of other options for free sites such as Wix.com. See: http://www.top10bestwebsitebuilders.com
  2. Twitter: Love it or loathe it, twitter is an awesome social media tool for writers. Whether it is building a following who share your interest or finding great articles, twitter has it all. I have met some wonderful writers through twitter. On twitter sharing is caring, so don’t be afraid to retweet other posts, comments, and books.
  3. Goodreads: If you are a writer and you don’t know what Goodreads is…you are seriously missing out. I was a member ages ago but I never made much use of it, and I really wish I had! If you are thinking of publishing my advice would be get active on Goodreads. Start sharing what you read and what you thought of it, and you will soon connect with other people who love the same books and genres. By the time you do come to publish you have a list of connections who already share a common interest, and so it’s not unreasonable to assume they might just give your book a go. Even if they don’t, Goodreads has a whole heap of forums to find beta readers, ways to share free copies of your book for reviews, and critique groups. Once you are published you can set up an Author dashboard where you can share your blog posts and connect your books. Goodreads members can flag your book as ‘To read’ and ‘Rate it’. Because Goodreads is global you get reviews from all over the world, unlike Amazon which is related to your particular store. And (unlike Amazon where family reviews are against policy) your nearest and dearest are free to leave reviews on Goodreads, they just show up as a ‘friend’ review.
  4. Facebook page: This is the last of my top social media. It’s pretty easy to set up a Facebook page, and you can share your blog posts and book news in one handy place. And everyone loves Facebook!

So, if you are a writer and serious about sharing your work you need to present your book related information in a media that appeals to a wide audience. A blog, Twitter, Goodreads and a Facebook page are a great start. Blogging is a weekly thing for me, but I generally post to Facebook and Twitter most days. And I pop onto Goodreads a couple of times a week to see what books my friends have read and any recommendations.

Top Supplementary media

Facebook groups: If you have not yet discovered Facebook writing and reading groups you are missing out. Facebook groups are like a online forums that conveniently sit inside Facebook. I love Facebook groups! Most groups contain support documents to help, for example the indie author group below has lists of book cover artists, editors, tips etc. Some examples of groups:

  1. Fantasy Writing Fanatics: Some great folks chewing the fat on all things related to fantasy writing
  2. Book Clubs: Folks who just plain love reading and share their favourite books and recommendations. There are hundreds of reader book clubs on Facebook.
  3. Indie Author Group: If you are an indie author and have a question someone here will have the answer. A great place to ask newbie questions about writing, editing, publishing, advertising, and anything else related to writing.
  4. There are hundreds of book sharing groups on Facebook for every genre you can imagine. While these are a little hit and miss in my opinion, it is worth checking out. Finding something genre specific is probably going to give you better impact. And I do think if you are running a promotion on your book it can help give you some exposure. For more book sharing groups See http://www.trainingauthors.com/facebook-groups-for-authors/

Other media options and what I thought

  1. Tumblr: I have a tumblr account, and my blog automatically posts to this for me so I still share that way. Tumblr feels a little like picture based blogging and so since I already have wordpress, I prefer to stick to that. There are some absolutely awesome Tumblr writer blogs though, but it’s just not a big or active option for me. If you are looking around for a blog tool it’s worth checking out as an alternative to Blogger or WordPress.
  2. Stumbleupon: I have an account and did dabble for a while. It’s useful to drive traffic to your blog, i.e. you can share your blog posts here. It’s also useful to find good articles. I have probably under utilised this myself and some people swear by it!
  3. Instagram: Is all about pictures so not necessarily the highest priority for a writer…I mostly post pictures of my cats! Not very writerly of me I know 🙂
  4. Pinterest: I quite like Pinterest, and it is a fun picture based way to find writing articles and to share. Not a big social media account for me, but it definitely has a good writing community and you can find some great articles here.

If I have missed a social media account that you love please let me know. Or if you have other recommendations or feedback on the above I would also love to hear.

Want to connect on social media? 

Find me on Goodreads : G.L. Cromarty (Author)

Find me on Facebook: G.L. Cromarty (TheWritingChimp)

Find me on Twitter: @TheLittlebod

Find me on Instagram TheWritingChimp

Sharing is caring! Drop a link to your social media accounts in the comments below!

Serenity Falling (Divided World Book 2) Coming Soon! #Scifi

So, book 2 is now imminent. I am hoping it might be out at the end of the month, but will see.

My publisher is providing the official cover, which I am excited to see when it’s ready! But in the interim, I have been playing about on pixelmator. While I claim no particular prowess with this graphics tool, I can manage the basics, and I am pretty happy with the way my temporary banner has come out. I use free images from Pixabay.com and then add the text in pixelmator.

Might have a play with a few more ideas! Let me know what you think of the banner. Would love your feedback.

Here is a cover I knocked-up in pixelmator using the same image. This is my temporary kindle cover for my beta readers for book 3, Revealing Serenity, which I am about to send out for feedback.

I know I should be writing, but sometimes a writer has to play 🙂

The curse of writer notes #amwriting #writerproblems #writing

Story notes, every writer has them!

Now there is nothing wrong with a writer taking notes. They are very useful, essential even, but if you are anything like me you acquire vast quantities of such notes and you never, ever, throw them away.

The Mobile Phone 

I love my mobile phone. I’ve got an iPhone which comes with this handy ‘Note’ app. I fill my phone notes app up with obscure commentary, scene ideas, and reminders to fix things. I do this at random times of the day and night. Typing on a phone is not always easy, you can hit the wrong key and autocorrect leaps in. Perhaps you are time pressured and you don’t have time to check the gibberish you just wrote. Or perhaps like me you are not wearing your glasses and it’s all a bit blurred so you hope for the best.

Later, when you come back to it, it could be:

  • A perfect note that makes complete sense
  • A bit random but can be deciphered with the aid of an encryption specialist
  • Utterly uncrackable

Note Pads and scraps of paper

There is something very enticing about writing on physical paper. Yes you have all these whizzy electronic options, but sometimes the paper is there and it just feels better to jot it down.

This has the same issues as the above mobile notes app, but with the added bonus of a random location.

Later you could find important story notes:

  • In 1 of your 27 notepads
  • In the car
  • In the office
  • In random other rooms of the house
  • In your bag
  • Photographed onto your phone!

Electronic Notes

It’s not just the notes app on your phone that can house these random notes. There are a whole heap of electronic note saving options that you can get to from your phone, electronic pad, and computer.

Later you might find your notes on:

  • Word documents on the computer
  • On Evernote
  • On your dropbox folder
  • On your airdrop folder
  • In Scrivener
  • In other writing applications
  • On a gazillion other shared applications that may or may not sync with each other.

Duplication

There is only one thing better than taking notes and that is…drum roll please…you guessed it…making backups of your notes!

While trying to write my book blurb I managed to accumulate 17 versions scattered about my computer, airdrop, and dropbox folders, and that was without the scribbled ideas for it on bits of paper! I had made so many duplicates I had no idea which one was the most current. I couldn’t even trust the last edited date because I had gone back and opened them all!

Then there are the photo’s of notes…

The saving as v2, v3, version new, version latest, version xyz…

And lastly but not leastly, copying the same file to multiple locations!

Phew!

Love them or loath them, no writer can call themselves a writer unless they have an avalanche of notes accumulated over years and a myriad of mediums and devices.

Culling the notes!

Every now and then we have a bit of a note cull. We seek desperately to identify the ones we can throw away. This is a painful and laborious process. Simply placing a note into the ‘possible deletion’ category will be quite stressful!

Having gone through this exercise, approximately 99% of the ‘possible deletion’ will be recategorised as ‘keep’.

And finally, you decide to delete / throw away the 1% you were confident about…tomorrow!