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Today I’m Versatile!

theversatilebloggerThanks to my writing friend, emerging author Sally Moore, for including me on her list of 15 bloggers she watches. The Versatile Blogger Award means people are paying attention and that’s great. I’ve been blogging for a lot of years now including the years as Beadergirl. More on that below.

I love connecting with people and writing a blog is an excellent way to do that. You can make contact with all sorts of other people or narrow your focus to readers, writers, and others in this specific business. That’s what I’ve done with On Becoming a Wordsmith. And the fact that I love to write doesn’t hurt, either.

Here are some of the blogs I’ve been following over the last year. You’ll notice that many are marketing blogs from whom I get ideas about marketing my books. Others are directly linked to books and reviews so it’s not hard to see my passion there. Finally I have a number of other authors I follow, some of whose blogs I’ve guest posted on. I’ve used this meme as a list of people I’m connecting with at this point in time even though I’m sure some of these will be unable to do the actual versatile blogger post.

Blogs I’m Following Just Now

  1. Oh, For the Hook of a Book!  Erin is an upbeat and interesting reviewer of books whom I treasure among my online friends. You can get a sense of her style in this review of my book last fall.

  2. Sharon Clare is a Canadian author who is always improving her already excellent writing style. She does workshops and readings and even has an online marketing strategy I wrote about last year.

  3. Helen Hollick is a relatively new online friend but one whose breezy and happy style just makes me want to know her personally. I wrote about her a couple of weeks ago. What an accomplished writer of historical fiction she is!

  4. Amy Bruno of Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours’ blog is a veritable feast of historical fiction novels. She runs tours to help promote historical fiction, one of which my second book was on last fall.

  5. Patricia Zick writes well herself and features other authors on her site every week. She blogs often and I happened to read about her book on her ancestor who was in the Civil War. I bought the book and loved reading the words of the real day-to-day life of a soldier.

  6. Danny Iny and his team at Firepole Marketing just teach so much about how to get our work to the world. I’ve learned a lot from Danny and have a number of his free downloads. And he lives in Montreal! He also lets  you choose how much mail to receive from him so I like that.

  7. John Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic is a site with loads of cool ideas about how to get known and recognized on the web. Read the About page here for an interesting story about John.

  8. Brian Feinblum’s BookMarketingBuzzBlog is a wealth of information on just about anything. Check out his topics (and his disclaimer at the bottom of the page.) He’s a big name in online marketing.

  9. Tim Grahl’s Outthink Marketing site is another with training and loads of good ideas. I’ve not had time to listen to all of his lessons but hope to make time soon.

  10. Denise at So Many Books, So Little Time is one of my favorite reviewers because she has such a positive style. She finds the good in the books she reads but is not afraid to mention less stellar parts.

  11. Sally A. Moore is an emerging author who takes the time to get her writing perfect. Her stories are intriguing and insightful and her blog posts always take me to something new while teaching me all manner of things.

  12. Meyette’s Musings is another interesting blog because she, too, writes about the American Revolution only from the American side. Elizabeth lives in Michigan, not far from me in Ontario, and we’ve joked that we should do a book tour together–her, with her American view books and me with my Canadian/British view of the same war. What great fun that would be.

  13. M.K.Tod’s blog, A Writer of History, has unique aspects to it. Check out her About page for the author interviews she’s done with very well known historical fiction authors such as Sharon Kay Penman, Edward Rutherfurd, and Elizabeth Chadwick, to name a few. And she’s Canadian, don’t you know!

  14. Linda Poitevin came to my attention on Goodreads, first because she is a Canadian and then because she writes such interesting posts and always has several things in the Goodreads blurb I get every Sunday. She does a good job of explaining how to do writing-related posts such as this one. She says she writes “Kick-Ass Supernatural and Romantic Fiction.” :-)

  15. Copyblogger is one final site from which I’ve received a lot of value. Here’s an article I’ve had starred for a few months but make sure you check out the whole site. And don’t worry about signing up. I didn’t have any flood of annoying emails. Everything they send is useful to a writer.

7 Things to Share About Me

This part is hard but here goes.

  1. I grew up in a large family of thirteen children, 9 boys and 4 girls. And I’m glad I did.

  2. I have a degree in French and Spanish, almost another complete one in English, but taught Computer Studies for the last six years of my teaching career, never having taken a computer course. I was all self-taught.

  3. One summer I remember sitting on our screened-in porch reading a wonderful book by Jean Little (Listen for the Singing, YA, for a course I was taking) and closing it after reading the last page. I stared unseeing out over our yard where my kids were playing and tears just started to flow as I wished with all my heart I could be a writer like her.

  4. For most of my life I have sung in choirs, groups, and even on occasion as a soprano soloist but the best singing I ever did was in duets with my mother’s wonderful harmony beside me. She was the source of all our musical talent. I wrote a song for her a few years ago–I Can Hear My Mom Singing–and it brings a smile to my face whenever I sit down at the piano and sing it.

  5. One time when I was teaching and came upon a 15-year-old misbehaving, after repeatedly speaking to him and getting no response, I grabbed his collar and shoved him into the locker. He didn’t understand my soft voice but he understood that and ever after was my best buddy both at school and in the small village where we both lived.

    Jewelry pic

  6. I started my blogging career when I was deep into making jewelry, especially with a very good girlfriend. Here is one of the last posts I did there on Beadergirl Jewels.

  7. My husband and I consider our two children and two grandchildren the joys of our lives. I did a 10-generation picture book of my father’s family so my little grandchildren would have a direct line on my side of the family that they could understand. Now I just have to do the other one from my family and the two from my husband’s family. Yikes!

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules:

  • Display the Award Certificate (cut and paste it from my post)

  • Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you – that’s me!

  • Nominate 15 other bloggers

  • Inform them of their nomination via comment on their blog

  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself

 
17 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Authors, Helpful Web Sites

 

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2012 in Review: It’s Been a Pretty Eventful Year

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for me and it gave me the idea to do a bit of a retrospective. First, here is the stats report for my writing blog. I was surprised to see which post was the most popular–the one about my brother, Roger, His Smiling Eyes. Rather than talking about writing, this post is an example of my writing and has a compelling title. I suppose those are the reasons it was the most popular post of the year. Something for me to remember.

Here is the WordPress report for those who are into stats. I think it’s pretty interesting to see what stats they have chosen to report and which of my posts were most popular.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Some of the other benchmarks of my year include learning a lot about writing through two excellent critiquers and excellent writing techniques through Author Salon. I started book 2 of my trilogy, tentatively titled The Loyalist’s Luck, and went to historical fiction writer, Barbara Kyle’s workshop where we presented our first 30 pages for discussion. I got a lot of excellent feedback and can hardly wait to pick up that project and finish the first draft.

In late summer, after much deliberation, I decided to leave Author Salon and forge ahead on The Loyalist’s Wife on my own. A final work through the manuscript was invigorating and fruitful. In late October, I finished. Then I immediately began sending out a flurry of querries to agents with the hopes of snagging one, a quest I am still on. Self-publishing has also been looming on my horizons and loads of related articles have caught my attention both on the Internet and through LinkedIn author groups.

A marketing course caught my attention in August and I signed up for fellow Canadian, Danny Iny’s course. I learned a lot about blogging, writing for a purpose, and just what I needed to write to attract the audience I’m writing for. I read several books for writers and commented in various places, but the one I read for Joe Bunting at The Write Practice really made sense for me. His book was about writing short stories. I got really excited about going over my 20 or so stories and submitting them. It was energizing. I’ve sent a couple out but need to do more. One I got published in Quick Brown Fox in November.

Just this moment I’m in Victoria with family, chomping at the bit to get writing again, after 2 weeks of very little ass-in-chair time. I am back on my path, know where I’m going, and want to move ahead every day. That elusive book cover is moving closer and  closer. 2013, here I come!

Wishing you all a very productive and energizing New Year!

Consider leaving a comment with your successes for 2012 and wishes for 2013. 

Download a free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Booklet from the link in the side column.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in General, Personal History, Writing Tips

 

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Free Offer: I’ve Done It!

The long-promised offer of a collection of my posts about writing is finally ready! Unlike the esteemed Brinda Berry, techie extraordinaire, I had to get some help to figure out exactly how to do this download so that readers could easily click and download. My computer guru son helped me so that now I can help you.

Click on the link here to get your very own pdf file, delivered right to your computer.

Download a free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Booklet

You can also click on the link to the right of my page, if that is easier. Yay! Yet another WordPress puzzle solved.

 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2012 in General, Writing Tips

 

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Today I’m at Writania!

One of the delicious things about being involved with social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and various author web sites is the people you meet. I first noticed the multi-talented Rita Kuehn in various LinkedIn author groups. We commented back and forth and built a relationship. Please join me today on her site, Writania, where I have guest posted about my journey as a writer.

www.writania.com

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Authors

 

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7 Ways for Writers to Use the Internet to Boost Profiles and Sales

Are you a writer who just wants to write and let someone else do the marketing?

Is your favorite writing day made of up of hours sitting at the computer oblivious to the rest of the world while your characters shock and amaze you and scenes just appear on the screen? There is a certain freedom in doing this, for sure, but somewhere along the line you’ll probably want to share your writing with the world.

Along comes the biggest three-letter word in your writer’s world.

How?

You’re probably wondering how you tear yourself away from your writing and use your computer to actually sell your writing. Writers have special talents which can be put to good use in promoting their products but they must remember their need to market their writing every bit as much as if they were selling mouse pads made out of real mice.

We need to let people know what it is we have and how it will fulfill one of their needs or desires. A how-to book on making fabulous jewelry, a fantastic sci-fi novel, or the story of a young couple thrown apart by the Revolutionary War–which will appeal to our audience so that they will buy? And how do we reach those who are clamoring to read books similar to ours?

Well. Volumes have been written on this very subject by many knowledgeable people but here are just a few ways to get started building your tribe on the Internet. (tribe=those who follow you and/or your books.)

7 Ways for Writers to Use the Internet to Boost Profiles and Sales.

1. Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads to find groups who are interested in either your product or the making of that product, (readers and writers) and interact. Get to know your people.

2. Do blog hops to widen your readership and to find others who might be interested in your blog and your writing niche. I did a blog hop about chocolate, of all things, purely to find out how a blog hop worked. You can see my post about it here. (Hmm. Maybe I’ll have to do one centred around historical fiction.)

3. Guest post on blogs whose readership dovetails with your own and widen your follower group. This is a cornerstone of Danny Iny’s Firepole Marketing platform.

4. Find other blogs and post insightful comments on them. Such phrases as “Great job!” are not enough. The key here is insightful. Leave comments which show that you have engaged with the post and which actually add value to what has come before. ( “I agree with what you’ve said but think another point might be….”

5. Give, give, and give again before asking for anything from your readers. This is a tricky one as most people, when they’re selling, feel they’re in a horse race and charge out of the gate at full gallop with their sales pitch. And of course the reader clicks on to the next blog, email or site, never to return. What might you give? That depends on your expertise and the length of time you’ve been doing this. Some suggestions: a download of collected posts on a particular subject, a download of a short e-book full of how-to information (most writers start out as deer-in-the-headlight newbies and are delighted to find free sources of on-point, valuable information about the publishing world.) Just make sure it is valuable to your audience.

6. Take courses. Writing, writing, and more writing but also related ones such as marketing, finding your niche, finding your audience, choosing between traditional publishing, self publishing and ebooks or combinations of these formats. Learn. I’ve been to several free marketing courses in person and on the Internet and also have paid to take a few. I always learn and a side benefit is talking to the instructors afterwards. Pick their brains. These contacts can be the most valuable part of a course.

7. Don’t put things on the Internet that are too private or not in line with your goal. Goal: to establish yourself as a writer in a certain area, and sell books, articles, short stories, or whatever it is you write. (Rewrite this to personalize it for your own purposes.) Your cousin’s spoiled kid is not a topic for your online presence. Keep it all about you as a writer.

This list is by no means exhaustive but simply reflects some of the strategies I’ve learned so far. We each need to map out our personal Internet strategy, starting today. Choose just one thing to enhance your own online presence with a view to selling your writing. Today I am going to be working on a new FREE download which writers might use to help on the long journey to publication. Coming soon, I promise.

Consider leaving a comment below and adding to the conversation.

 
 

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Writers Have To Be Like Frankenstein’s Monster–Made Up of a Million Parts

Photo Credit: Street art depicting Frankenstein in Berlin, 2008. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike (cc by-sa) Wikipedia user Jotquadrat.

Sometimes you just can’t get your writing done.

You know what to do. You’re just out of time what with your regular 9 to 5, your kid’s homework that needs your help, and someone has to cook if the family is going to eat.

You feel like you’re being pulled by your ‘to-do’ list which hasn’t been, ah, done in 22 days, or you’ve missed the deadline for yet another short story contest. Or the few minutes you do have, you spend at your desk stressed to the max playing computer games, all the while thinking back to when you first started creating. That halcyon time when all you had to do was write. No emails glided into the lower right corner of your screen. You turned the phone off, closed your door to the world, and lost yourself in a protracted date with your characters, putting them through their paces as surely as drivers of six-horse hitches do their fine Belgian horses at every fall fair.

Writing isn’t like that anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in General, Social Networking, Writing Tips

 

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