Love Inspiration Dreams

Writers: Thanks a Million

Today I’m filled with appreciation and love for my fellow writers. All the bloggers, all the twitter writing community, my Facebook friends and my adorable Instagram peeps.

Wonderful people spread over many virtual places. But just because we aren’t connected in a skin and bones, face to face way doesn’t diminish the respect or gratitude I feel towards you all.

I know that we all take the risk as writers to bare our souls, to delve deep under the surface of emotions, to expose that which makes us human.

Thank you message in a bottle

I’ve struggled this week with a chest infection and the knock on effect of poor mental health. I burrowed away with low energy, a rattling chest and crippling doubt.

Yet the inspiration and positive vibes from my community kept me strong and pulled me out the other side.

So thank you all.

Each week I get such a fantastic response from you all, you share your experiences, your views and most of all your personality. I owe you all my humble admiration and love. Because sometimes we need to simply spread the joy.

Keep dreaming and aim high.

Tell me about your week, how is the autumn season beginning for you. Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
notebook nature writer Author Lorraine Ambers

6 Tips for Twitter #writers

Building a platform and navigating the many different social media’s can be a daunting task. It can seem a step too far, especially when we’re still struggling to write our novel. But fear not, for I’m here to share my top six tips for using twitter.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

It’s important to remember you’re presenting yourself as a brand. Every interaction on the internet should be tailored towards catching your target audience and strengthening your business – you as an author.

  1. Load a profile and background image, then add a few sentences to describe yourself. Want inspiration? Check out your fellow writers and see what catches your eye.
  2. Every social media has a different way of conversing. Twitter does this by short, punchy statements. Using just 140 characters to convey your meaning. Twitter is fast moving so mistakes can be made. But that’s ok, your friends will forgive and forget. So dive in and have fun.
  3. Picture’s and Gif’s are a great way to draw attention, so get creative. Warning about copyright, please make sure you have the right to use the images.
  4. Use hashtags as a way to connect with likeminded individual. Some of my favourites are #amwriting #turtlewriters and #fantasy. Play around with them and pay attention to what similar authors use.
  5. Remember your manners and don’t spam. The fastest way to be unfollowed is by only plugging your own work. There tends to be an unwritten rule that the ratio should be 80% sharing and 20% promoting. I like to mix it up, not all of my tweets are promotional. Most are asking questions, interacting and statuses about my writing journey. Take a look at my profile: https://twitter.com/lorraineambers
  6. People tend to converse through the newsfeed and ignore DM’s (Direct Messages) because the majority of messages are spam. If you want to chat, be brave and tweet them directly by adding there @name. Try me, I’ll be happy to reply. @LorraineAmbers

There we have it, my top 6 tips for twitter. Do you have any tips to share? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017
universe, night sky, stars

Guest post – From Whispers to Roars by Kristy Nicolle

Please welcome indie author Kristy Nicolle. She has published a fantasy romance series, The Tidal Kiss Trilogy and is due to release her new dystopian novel Something Blue next week. 

Author Kristy Nicolle
Today, Kristy is sharing her experience on self branding and platform building on social media. 

Author Lorraine Ambers
When I was asked to write this guest blog post I didn’t really know what to say. Lorraine informed me that I’m quite the social media guru, which I guess until recently I never really noticed. So I’m here to talk to all you authors, those of you who are new, old, considering publishing your first book or looking to learn something new.The thing is, marketing via social media, or any other platform for that matter, isn’t awfully difficult. I’ll tell you one thing though, you must have one key quality to succeed. That quality is BELIEF. It sounds sappy and dramatic, but the biggest way to fail at the first hurdle in publishing is to believe that nobody cares. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say, that it’s all been said before.

 

Here’s the thing.

It has all been said before.

 

But not by you.

 Book Tea writing

If you’re a new author you go out there with a freaking megaphone and you tell anyone who will listen about your book. I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard to know if people will want to hear it, but the truth is if you don’t start shouting about your book, nobody else will. Being an author isn’t the kind of profession for those who are shy anymore. Writers used to be thought of as raving introverts, incapable of communicating in any other way than by the pages of their novels, but times have changed, and with indie publishing, you are your own marketing campaign, you are a part of the product. You have to be the one to sell it, to tell people how amazing your book is. To SHOW them what you’re capable of. But to do that, and do it well, you have to believe you have something worth selling. It’s true, vampires and werewolves aren’t a new concept, but how is YOUR vampire novel different? Why should a reader pick it up? If Picasso and Van Gogh both sat down to the same scene, they would paint entirely different pictures. The same goes for writing. Every author is different, and though we walk in the same genres, and among the same types of stories, our experiences and the way in which we write them are nothing less than one of a kind. That’s what you have to realise to market well. Nobody else can be you. Only you can do that. Only you can tell your stories. So, the most important thing is to put your embarrassment and fear aside and start selling yourself. Take a long hard look at who you are as an author and what makes your stories special. Why should a reader pick them up? Pay for them? If you can’t answer these questions- neither can your readers.

Never give up 

The second thing to know about marketing online is simple- image is everything. Often authors say to me – well my graphics don’t matter, they’re paying for my words, not my artistic skills. WRONG. Putting up crappy graphics puts doubt in people’s minds that you know what a quality product looks like before they’ve even checked out the blurb/excerpt. Looks do matter, now more than ever because the market is particularly competitive. You can write the world’s next great novel, but if it looks like crap nobody will buy it. People are shallow, and they say that seven seconds in the length of time it takes someone to decide whether to one click or not. This isn’t just for covers, it’s for everything. Website, teasers, banners. If your author persona doesn’t look professional, people will automatically assume your writing is of a similar quality, even if that’s not the case. If you’re not good with graphics, hire someone!

Writer desk author
My final piece of advice is persistence. Doing one round of spamming facebook groups with your ads isn’t going to see overnight results. Facebook platforms, like anything truly effective take a while to grow and evolve into what you want them to be. Being an indie author these days truly is a marathon, not a sprint. Never be afraid to change it up, to try what’s new and HONESTLY, don’t take every single person’s advice. What works for some authors won’t work for everyone, and marketing trends are just that, trends. They change quickly and often burn out as so many people jump on them they quickly lose their effectiveness.

 If you can dream it you can do it

At the end of the day, there is no one way to market yourself, there is only what you think is right for you. The most important thing is that you’re happy with your approach and open minded enough to make changes when you need to. Trust your gut, believe your product is worth buying and persist. Good things will happen! 

Kristy Nicolle xx

Pixel image computer desk research business

Exploring Google+ for Writers

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me on my expedition of Google+. As an author and blogger I need to get my content out there. To be seen by the masses. Social media provides us this opportunity. But where do we start?

Entering the realm of Platform Building is daunting and a subject we’ve already covered. With our brand discovered and in place, it’s time to adventure into wide web.

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
Take a look at some of the previous journeys:

Reaching a wide audience and connecting with our readers is the aim, so let’s get started!

Step on: Set up an account using the same crafted brand bios and photos. How to achieve this can be found on my blog about building your platform. It’s an important first step and should not be missed. Tip: Google+ maximises your Google search results from essential key words in your Bio. Understand your target audience; use the same language so they can discover you. Example: fantasy, non-fiction, young adult and romance are a few of mine.

You can create a personnel or business profile. I opted for a personnel page. As a new author I wanted to be proactive in reaching out to other people and have them get to know me. You have to use your personal profile to do so.

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Link your account to your website, and any other media sites you have created. Having multiple platforms generates more visibility for your work. More sites! –  I hear you cry, I know, It’s hard work. Take it one step at a time and breathe. It’s taken me a couple of years to get to this point. I’m still learning and growing. So can you.

Google+ is an excellent site for meeting up with likeminded individuals. Choose relevant interests and community groups. I’ve joined communities like; Writers blogs, Creative writing and Book reviews. Tip: Select a few and concentrate on them, don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to get carried away and hard to maintain.

photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
Unlike other social media, Google+ has the advantage of creating circles. Your circles could contain containing authors, editors or publishers.  Reach out and connect with your circles, formatting posts that connect specifically with them in mind. They in turn, will link you to their circles, helping you to grow.

Like all media keep posts relevant, with good content and on a regular basis. Get to know your connections and have fun. The advantage of Google+ is there is no maximum content. You can submit a chapter of your novel to be reviewed or post book reviews. It’s an intelligent platform with a host of feature just begging to be put to good use.

Google+ Hangouts is a free online video chat that can include up to 10 people. Just think of the possibilities this opens up, book readings and meeting your readers.

Why not follow me on Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/2/+LorraineAmbers

Tell me about your Google+ experience, share some great tips, I love to here from you.

©Lorraine Ambers 2017

Writing desk Author Lorraine Ambers

Author’s introduction to LinkedIn

 

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)

Us authors need to be on social media. We need to be seen and we need our unique voices heard.Truth is we alone are responsible for showing the public who we are and what we are about.

In other blogs we’ve taken a bite sized Pinterest lesson and Building an social media platform.  I’ll be honest each blog I’m learning too.

Be brave and take the plunge!

Pixabay image, Brave Lego Superman
Pixabay image, Brave Lego Superman

As with all social media Keywords are essential, this is prevalent with your title on LinkedIn. Its the first port of call for like minded people to make a snap decision as to weather or not you’re a potential candidate to connect with.

Numbers are not important! Your target audience is vital, so choose editors, authors, writers, bloggers and publicists within your genre to drive your target audience towards you. Your search will begin with similar Keywords that you painstakingly placed in your title.

social media for authors

Use advanced search to your benefit. You could type in, YA Fantasy Author or Fantasy reader and see who pops up. It will enable you to search for people, jobs, groups and much more. Now connect until your hearts content, or in my case, until I’m bored stiff.

Fill in your profile, get creative but be truthful. If this is the first social medial you’re approaching, a little work now can be transferred to other sites when your ready. Helping to maintain your brand. Add your experiences and keep them relevant to your platform. I also run a welding fabrication business but that’s not going to help me as an author.

Remember your Keywords!

Success key

Join groups and get chatting. As with anything social, sitting on the sidelines will not get you noticed (note to self, that’s why parties are no fun). Be brave, introduce yourself, ask questions or just answer others posts. In business it takes time to build recognition and then trust, so be patient.

I have found that LinkedIn is the most responsive platform towards my blog. So remember bloggers to share your work on social media’s, add links or use widgets that connect to this resourceful site.

An image tells a thousand words!

 

Pink Flowers Author Lorraine Ambers

With all media sites no one likes to be hassled about your book. The fastest way to put off connections is to appear selfish and egotistical. A good goal is to aim for 10% self promotion and 90% give back. Share, comment, interact and offer tips)

I’m still learning, so why don’t some of you lovely share your LinkedIn tips with me!

Bite out of learning Pinterest.

A bite sized Pinterest lesson for authors

pinterest for authors

I’ve gone over the importance of building a platform and using your brand to drive your audience to you via social media.

I’ve been taking a closer look at how Pinterest can become an authors asset in the digital world. This week I’ll take you through some of the  features I’ve learnt about in the last few years.

never give up social media for authors

Set up a business Pinterest account, it looks the same as a personnel account but has tools and analytics that will aid you and your blog. keeping in mind your Brand, – who you are and how your portraying yourself.

Setting up a Pinterest profile, is daunting. However the steps are simple and can take an hour. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and this doesn’t have to be either. Any content you add here can be echoed through all social media platforms. Put some thought into your profile description using words that correlate to you.

Pin boards – go nuts fill up boards full of squirrels or old cars, what ever floats your boat. A word to the wise, if its harmful to your brand, or bears no relevance, keep the board locked from public view.

social media for authors

Name each pin board with keywords, ones that easily attributed titles and descriptions, like: Author writing tips, Fantasy character ideas, World building themes – you get the idea.

Add boards that will direct the right audience to your profile, so for authors you could add a library board and fill it with books within your genre.

Verify your website ULR in settings. This took me a few tries and a couple of YouTube videos, but have faith, if I can master technology so can  you.

book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

Install the Pin it button. You can have one on your blog so your audience can show appreciation by adding you content to there board. Also you can Pin and link each image on your blog / website to your Pinterest account. I made a board for my author interviews and pinned them there and pinned the rest under my blog name, Written in Ambers.

Use great images in your blog. a picture says a thousand words, or so I’m told. There are loads of Free stock images, with no attributes or royalties attached. Pixabay is a great starting point. Don’t forget to use keywords the alt description when you add and edit photos to your blog. these key descriptions are used as the primary function of Pinterest as a search engine. Get savvy with SEO

Finally learn SEO 😉

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)

Building a social media platform

I imagined success as an author happened like so –  a publisher miraculously discovers your talent. Above the thousands of other competing writers. Then they would publish, advertise, promote and sell your book. How wrong I was. Feel free to laugh.

photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)

Are you horrified to learn that a huge part of being a successful author is by growing your social media? It’s your my role to advertise, promote and sell books. It’s down to you to create a trust worthy brand, that generates more than numbers but target followers.

Your not alone, everyone starting out has faced the same crippling doubt. Regardless of trade, musician, artist, chief or writer, the building blocks are the same. The hardest part of building a platform is conquering your fear and jumping aboard the media wagon.

Pixabay image cliff dive
Conquer your fears, make the leap.

I’ve come a long way in a short time, perhaps with some of my tips you can too. The steps are simple but daunting,

Step 1. your brand.

The most important step, the foundation upon which you will begin. This is where you pick your stage/business/pen name. Take a fantastic profile picture and maybe create a logo.

Question marks Pixabay images

Who are you trying to reach? – Target audience.

But its more than that.You won’t get far just adding friends and family to  Facebook. Remember you want followers not numbers.

Learn your ideal audiences demographic. What are there likes, hates, aspirations? Use that knowledge. Targeting your brand to meet the needs of your audience. There’s no point in vlogging about the worlds tastiest burger if your target audience is vegan.

I feel your pain. creating a brand is terrifying. But once the hard works done you’ll be clearer on your journey to success.

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Step 2. Email address in your brands name.

This is the root connection for every media you’ll use. Keep it tidy and professional. Separate it from your personal emails for convenience and simplicity. Link each and everyone of the social medias to the branded email and voilà. We’re on our way.

pixabay image social media

Step 3. pick your media.

Take your pick; Facebook, twitter, flicker, WordPress, Instagram, Blogger,YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+…    Each one is different with its own set of perks and down falls. I suggest trying one at a time to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

Which ever you choose, remember to apply the brand. Your image and name will hold the beliefs your presenting to your peers. The best way to start a following is by connecting with like minded individuals. Get things moving with a comment, like or share. Watch, interact and learn. Some medias are fast moving, mistakes are forgotten or forgiven. Everyone was new at some point.

pixabay tips ideas
Tips anyone?

So dive in, here’s my top tips:

  • Use great images. You only have a few seconds to grab the readers attention. Great resolution, brand friendly and check for royalties, not all images are for free.
  • Don’t spam. People will unfollow you. Instead, connect with the readers and let them come to you.
  • Stay away from tough topics such as politics, abusive posts, your personnel drama. Ask yourself:  Is it going to hurt your brand? Is it the opinion of your brand? Will it gain you followers or loose you followers? This is a business after all so keep it professional.
  • Connect with people in your industry.
  • The more you post, like and share, the more faith your brand will garner.
  • Talk about topics relevant to your brand. Create content that will drive your audience to engage with you by asking questions, sharing interesting links, quotes and adding updates relating to your niche.

When you’ve mastered those try another media. Remember your time is valuable, you don’t have to slog away at all of them, only the ones that yeald the best results.

pixabay image success

So there you have it. Go explore the virtual world and good luck on your adventure.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/143601516@N03/28208489145″>Social Media Marketing Mix</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
Under the sea family time

Summer holiday fears

Six whole weeks home alone with my children. Sounds delightful to some parents. Yet each year I dread the long holiday. Counting down the weeks, checking the dates to see if the school have slyly taken a seven week break. (Oh yes! They have done that.)

Maybe its because I’m not a ‘working mum’? I say the term ‘working mum’ loosely, as in fact I run three business. As we know fantasy writing can be  created from the comfort of our homes. A comfort that turns into a battle field at holiday times. My job isn’t the issue. Its the pressure of pleasing my children. Trying to avoid the inevitable words ‘I’m bored’ from suffocating me.

As a child I roamed free, from dusk till dawn. A magical world, the land around me my eternal playground.

Now a days I keep a short leash on my children. Its not that I fear invisible child predators. Its more of being afraid of bad parenting, of the judgement cast from other parents.

So I line up weekly swim sessions, theme parks, sleepovers, picnics, camping … the list goes on. I’m ready, organised but twitching with a prickly dread.

Beach summer Holiday Children dog

I wonder if I’m truly the only parent like this. Dreading the day in day out monotony of reward charts, sibling rivalry and using excessive house cleaning as an avoidance method.

A mum on social media asked: ‘How do you cope with the kids in the holidays?’

I replied: ‘Put my I-pod on and pretend they aren’t here.’

She thought I was joking. But truth is by week 5 I’m on the brink and what ever stops me from strangling a raging teenager has got to be good.

I’m starting to realise I have in fact become my own nemesis. My children rely on me for entertainment. Missing the freedom of the great outdoor without me to hold hands. They aren’t street smart and are too timid to go it alone.

Then I counted how many more summer holidays I’d have left to endure… The surprising answer is, nowhere near enough. I realised that for all the stress and heartache of raising children their time with us is a gift. The holiday drama is a small price to pay for a loving family.

So lets relax, release the reins a little and enjoy our summer!