Tag Archives: facebook

Give Me A Break

Trash canI think it is a good idea if a blog site has a trashcan and trash-bag available for such things as this post; the non-essential, frivolous, probably not worth reading, but maybe something to make you smile a little. Smiling is good, not as good as a really deep-down, shake-you-up laugh, but good.

I have discovered that there are different levels of break times. When someone says, “Take a break,” it is important to know just what kind of a break they are suggesting you take. The one with the highest acceptability level is the cigarette break. Because of the not smoking in public buildings law, which applies to most work places, we no longer have people working hard at their job with a cigarette or a cigar hanging from their mouth, or a pipe clenched tightly between their teeth. That has effectively cut down on the amount of work done but not on the amount of smoking.

Smoker 1Now I am not an anti-smoking nut. Used to smoke 3 packs a day minimum, plus a cigar or pipe after dinner, all of it inhaled deeply and deliciously, coating my lungs with tar and giving my blood the needed shot of nicotine energy. I still love the smell of tobacco smoke. I will stand down wind of a smoker just to get a whiff of that old, familiar love. I started when I was in the Navy and could buy a carton of cigarettes at the ship’s store for 80 cents a carton. That’s right 8 cents a pack. It’s a wonder I’m still alive. But I digress…

Coffee breakThe second unquestionably acceptable break at work is the coffee break. Because someone often joins you with his or her cup of coffee it is a good thing because it is a social break. We all know how important it is to be sociable and that is the reason Facebook is such a phenomenal success. In fact we are social creature like; elephants, bats, whales, gorillas, ants and all sorts of other creatures so a social break is highly acceptable.

1 mugI’m not an anti-coffee person either. I used to drink 16-20 cups of coffee a day, probably to wash down the nicotine. I still drink 3 to 4 cups a day; I mean mugs of coffee, you know the big ones, the kind of coffee mugs I make which hold a minimum of 16 ounces. You know when a can of coffee states that it makes 120 cups it is talking about those piddling little 8 ounce cups.

Cloud 1However, when you walk away from your desk and go outside for 15 minutes without a cigarette, or a mug of coffee, not smoking or being social, but just admiring the sky and the passing clouds, that break is considered a waste of time.

May all your waste-of-times be delightful ones.

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisherKindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

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Filed under fiction, Humor, writing

Cross-pollination Marketing by Christine Husom

The Twin Cities Sisters in Crime put together an Internet marketing workshop for crime writers, which I attended last Saturday. We were able to list ahead of time the various topics we were interested in, ie., websites, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.

We discussed the value of an effective website, and whether or not to have a blog feature on it. Some authors have a  blogsite, but don’t have an official website. I had read some time ago that the important thing about a blog is to be regular with it–whether it is once a day, or week, or month–something I have failed to do on my own website.

One of the participants said having a particular theme, or subject matter, is a way to bring readers in. Another way is to read others’ blogs and to leave comments. I mentioned the importance of attaching tags to your blog, containing keywords that will be appear on a search of a variety of topics. If you are quoting Charles Dickens, add him as a tag, and someone doing a search on him may visit your blog.

All of us were familiar with Facebook. Of course. Some of us were more active than others. One woman said it was important to change your privacy settings about every six weeks because Facebook is constantly upgrading. The question was, how do we connect with readers? I suggested joining groups of people with common interests. Another way is holding a give-away contest for your books. And share the link to your blog when you have a new post.

I had been at a training session two weeks before and the facilitator said you can post something on Facebook once or twice a day before people start ignoring you, but you can post on Twitter every fifteen minutes because it is so dynamic. People tweet for different reasons, business and personal. As authors, we want to build a readership for our books. So tweet and  retweet others’ tweets that you like.

WordPress is a wonderful place to read and post blogs, and Goodreads is a great site to connect with writers and readers alike. Many authors are active on Gather and/or Crimespace. Pinterest is being used by libraries more and more.

Somewhere in the middle of the workshop, as my head was spinning with information, I searched for a word to describe how authors could connect with readers. It turned out to be two words joined to make one: Cross-pollination. Be active on as many sites, and with as many people, as your schedule allows.

One man (yes, we have brothers in our group, too) came to the workshop later in the day, after he finished teaching a morning class. We summarized the topics we had discussed and he said, “Cross-pollination.” Maybe there was a spirit in that library meeting room who had whispered the word in both our ears that day.

When I got home, I looked up cross-pollination. The basic definition, according to the on-line Free Dictionary is, “Cross-pollination is the fertilization by transfer of pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another.” The antonym is self-pollination. Hmm. That got me thinking. As authors and readers, it’s a win-win situation to promote the works of other authors along with our own–we want people to continue to read books. We do this when we write reviews, add books and ratings to our bookshelves, or interview others on our blogs. This is certainly not a new concept in marketing, but one that bears repeating. Let’s all practice some cross-pollination.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winnebago County Mystery Thriller Series, Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River. 

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How to Get More Readers for Your Blog

Ever wonder why so few people read your blogs? The number of bloggers on WordPress alone is increasing by 900,000 a month. Yep. Lots and lots and lots of blogs.

So, how do you find a place in the blogosphere despite all those bloggers screaming for you to read their bloggeries?

First, write articles that are interesting to you. If you’re interested, there’s a good chance others will be, too. If you’re a published author talk about your book, explaining why you wrote it and how you got the idea. You can tell about the things you learned while researching the book. You can write about your work-in-progress, especially if you are having difficulty with a scene. People love to help, and they will feel they have a stake in you and your work. Write about your daily life or things that make you angry. Write about the books you read. Write about anything and everything.

Second, add a catchy title, something that will attract attention and hook a reader even before they begin reading your post. With so many bloggers, people seldom get beyond a title, so make sure you give them a reason to read further. The title of this post is not very original, but it does tell what the post is about.

Third, add an image. People today seem to be visually oriented, and an image will often catch their attention more than your picturesque prose.

Fourth, add tags that people might Google to get to your article. If you tag add a tag such as “Uncle Bob”, it might end up as the one millionth “Uncle Bob” on Google, and no one will ever find your article. I would have thought tagging an article with “Cheetos” would be the same, but one blogger reported that she got more than a thousand hits because of it. So, be sure to add plenty of tags!

Fifth, link to everything. If you’re an author, link your book title to a site with a buy link. Link to your web page. If you refer to another article, link to that article. (To make a clickable link, select the word or phrase you’d like to contain the link, then click on the icon of a chain on the tool bar — it should be the tenth icon — and fill in the URL of the site you’d like to link to.) The clickable link will look like this: Bertram’s Blog

Sixth, be sure to make use of the social networking tools available on WordPress. To activate these tools, go to your dashboard, and under where it says “Dashboard” click on “my blogs.” Under the heading “publicize”, check whichever sites you belong to, and follow the instructions for linking your blog to Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Messenger. Once that is done, you’re set. Whenever you post a blog, WordPress will automatically notify those sites.

Seventh, link your name to your blog. The internet is all about links, and the most important link is the link attached to your name. If you make a comment, and your name is not linked to anything, you become a dead end. To link your name to your WordPress blog, go to your dashboard, and find “Users” on the left sidebar, beneath that you will find “personal settings.” Click on “personal setting.” Scroll down to “account details” at the bottom of the page. In the blank for “website” put in your entire blog address, including the http:// Then click save. Now when you leave a comment on a WordPress blog, and someone wants to know more about you, all they have to do is click on your name.

That isn’t all there is to becoming a major blogger, but it’s a start.

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Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire,  and Daughter Am I.

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The Art of Procrastination

It seems as if lately the only art I’m practicing is the art of procrastination.

There’s no art in going about your daily life and telling yourself you don’t have time to write. The art is in pursuing other activities to keep from going about your daily life and telling yourself you don’t have time to write.

Thus far in my procrastination, I have:

  1. Read several books about writing.
  2. Invited a dozen authors to guest host my blog.
  3. Left comments at a couple of online writing forums.
  4. Joined a writing discussion group. 
  5. Entered a writing contest even though I said I would never enter another one. 
  6. Researched book marketing .
  7. Signed up for FacebookMySpace, and Shelfari. Wandered around the sites trying to figure out what to do with them (still have no clue). If you belong to any of these sites, please add me as a friend so I can procrastinate more!
  8. Published an article about What Your Car Color Means on Squidoo.
  9. Played around with the color customizer for my wordpress theme. 
  10. Started another blog.

It would probably be easier just to sit down and write the novel, but where’s the art in that?

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One,  and A Spark of Heavenly Fire now available from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

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