Cait Munro explains how black and white photography became a complicated symbol of female empowerment. “This kind of vague hashtag activism also recalls the great black square debacle of a few months ago, in which a bunch of people posted black squares alongside #blacklivesmatter in supposed solidarity with the movement, only to drown out important information about nationwide protests by flooding feeds and relevant hashtags with, basically, nothing. The black square then became something of a symbol for performative wokeness, and now is mostly a punch line leveled against white people who do too much without really doing anything at all.” Refinery 29
Biological sex is a spectrum, too. Not new, but interesting. SciShow
It’s just disturbing to me that all of these organizations are being audited. It continues the trend of cutbacks, suppression, and outright antagonism toward the sciences, and environmental and arts organizations in this country.
That’s all I’m saying about that.
Carmine Gallo explores the science behind TED’s 18 minute presentation rule. My trainer geek emerged. This is the 90-20-10 rule. People can listen with attention for 90 minutes (think about the timing of your breaks and lunch at work). They can listen and understand for about 20 minutes. The trainer or presenter (in-person) should change things up every 10 minutes. Virtual is a whole different ball game 😉
And speaking of TED, here’s Ze Frank’s very brief, Are You Human?
The 100 best sci-fi movies, as chosen by critics and experts. They’re presented in alphabetical groupings and each delivers their top ten. It’s a fair amount of wading, but there are some interesting choices . . .
Balloon art. Seriously. And I can’t even make a poodle. Maybe a snake 😛
And that be it for the thoughty and fun this week.
For my second Twitterview hosting experience, I got to quiz Roz Morris.
For those of you who don’t know, Roz is the ghost writer for some 12 bestselling novels.
She is also an editor and book doctor (are the two the same? Read the Storify linked below to find out!), and in recent years she’s self-published two novels under her own name and the first two books in her Nail Your Novel series, all bestsellers. She also writes articles all over the internet, teaches writing and self-publishing classes … the woman is amazing.
And so gracious with her time! When we proposed the Twitterview as the culmination of a month-long Roz Morris spotlight on the M2the5th Google Plus community, little did we suspect how engaged Roz would be. Lori Sailiata, Amy Pabalan, and I may have shared her blogs, videos, and articles, but she commented on every one, and we had some interesting conversations.
If you visit her web site (linked above), you can find out all about Roz, her consultancy services, her books, and everything else.
Yesterday’s Twitterview was a great time. It’s really a matter of controlled chaos, or mischief managed, if you like the Harry Potter allusion.
Not only is Roz a great writer and writing coach, but she also, as Amy learned, owns a horse, which boosted Roz’s cool quotient in Amy’s eyes. And if that wasn’t enough, Roz attended circus classes and tried out everything from juggling to the trapeze.
New Twitter friend Mark was active throughout the hour-long session, but other participants, including Porter Anderson, retweeted and shared some of Roz’s gems during and after the Twitterview.
And that’s not all!
M2the5th (Mostly Multicultural, Mysteries, Memoir, and Myth) will be holding weekly Nail Your Novel Tweet chats followed by video hangout workshops on Saturdays throughout April (except for Easter weekend). Join the Google Plus community for more details as they emerge.
We want to keep the Roz-love going because her third Nail Your Novel will be coming out this spring!
When I wrote about my first experience hosting a twitterview last month, someone commented, asking what the heck a twitterview was.
Yeah. BIG oversight on my part.
So, here, for your edification, is the long-delayed explanation.
A twitterview is an interview conducted by tweet chat. What’s a tweet chat, you ask?
Tweet chats are when Twitterers, or Tweeps (people on Twitter), get together and chat about a specific topic. They make themselves a virtual meeting room by using a hashtag to mark all of their tweets. Only those participating in the chat and using the hashtag can see all of the tweets, but the followers of each participant get to see all of that participant’s tweets.
This is why it’s so important to use the hashtag consistently. If you don’t, your tweet will not be included in the conversation and will not be replied to. It’s also kind of frustrating to see only half (or less) of a conversation.
In Twitter itself, you can search the hashtag and bring up a list of the most recent tweets using it.
This is what it looks like.
If you want, you can participate in the chat from there, but you will experience some limitations, like the inability to alter tweets when retweeting (RT) or modified tweeting (MT). This can be a pain in the butt.
If you’re comfortable with Hootsuite, you can set up a stream for your hashtag. In the new stream panel at the end of your existing streams, select Twitter, and then the Search button. Enter the hashtag, and voila, you have a stream dedicated to just that hashtag.
You can also use Hootsuite to alter tweets when RTing or MTing, or to schedule tweets for the twitter chat if you’re so inclined.
Also, hashtag rooms can be set up using tweetchat.com (chat must be active to enter room) or tchat.io.
The main benefit of a hashtag chat room is that the hashtag is automatically added to your tweets posted using the chat room service. Very convenient.
If you want a little more information on tweet chats and how to participate in and conduct them, here are a few helpful links:
Or you can Google your own results using the terms twitter party, twitter chat, or tweet chat.
Thus endeth the lesson.
I’m doing this in the hope of encouraging some of the more Twitter-phobic among my followers to give tweet chats and twitterviews a try, especially my upcoming twitterview with book doctor and bestselling author, Roz Morris next Saturday.
That’s Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 2 pm EDST. Use Twitter, Hootsuite, tweetchat.com, or tchat.io to attend, but if on Twitter or Hootsuite, don’t forget the #Mto5 hashtag!
So looking forward to my second twitterview hosting gig. If you like Roz or have read any of her books, please drop by next Saturday. We’re going to be talking about all things Roz 🙂
Off the top, I have to say this: I won! My first time out and I won 🙂
Backtracking to my trip to Surrey
Before I even left, I was considering NaNo. The municipal liaison came out to the Sudbury Writers’ Guild meeting in September to promote. My leave would be until November 18, 2013, so I thought I’d probably have a chance.
While at SiWC, I heard several people talking about NaNo and how it had really helped them get their ideas down, break through writers’ block, built their confidence, and so forth.
By the time I got back, I was determined to give it a try.
I chose a project that I had outlined years ago. I’d had a little bit written, but I hadn’t touched it in years.
I was going to start over in any case.
The power of planning
I knew I was going away for a few days to visit some friends, and that I’d be going back to work before the month was out. I started out by front loading the work, trying to move ahead quickly at the beginning so I could coast a bit at the end if I needed to.
Still, when I went back to work, there were a few low count nights. I was worried.
To make time for my writing in the evenings when I went back to work, I tried using my smart(er than me) phone to keep track of my email and social media.
I got up a half-hour earlier than usual to check Facebook, WordPress follows, and my Feedly follows and share the interesting stuff on Twitter and Google+.
The pilgrim’s progress
Here’s a convenient table for you:
+ or –
19 return to work
What I learned
I don’t think I could do this working full time.
Having said that, it was fantastic to know that I could pull a 50000+ word draft together in 30 days. It was interesting to me because my first novel took me a year to write, working in the evenings and on weekends.
It gives me hope that if I do end up getting a deal for my work at some point and am asked to pump out sequels in swift succession, I should be able to do so. Also, if I end up going the self-publishing route, it’s always good to have moar material out there. If people like what I write, I can potentially supply the demand.
While my Samsung Galaxy Note II is quite lovely, I don’t think that I could manage my social media long term using it alone. Some of the information so easily accessible on my desktop is not so convenient to find in an Android app version of the program. Also, some things don’t translate well. Though the Feedly app appears to allow FB mentions in a post, it does not actually include them when posting to FB.
I have a few strange-looking posts over the last couple of weeks, and was not able to keep track of anyone’s birthdays on my phone, so apologies to anyone I may have offended or missed as a result.
Again, it’s good to know that I can do a minimally good job of maintaining my social media from my phone if need be.
Today, except for these blog posts, I have not written. I’ll get back on that horse shortly. I’ve also had to let a few submission deadlines slide because I just couldn’t manage to do it all. Everyone has their limits.
I’ll be blogging in the future about my writing plans moving forward as well as a little about work. Interesting times I live in 😉
I’m going to be a bit scarce, or scarcer that I have been recently.
I have my time off and I’m going to use it to catch up on a few projects/straighten out my head.
It’s taken much longer than I intended, but I am coming down to the final, final, FINAL revision of Initiate of Stone before I send her off to the editor who expressed interest last year and to a few select beta readers. I’m going to be revising my pitch/query and start targeting Agents and small publishers.
I’ll be attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference from October 25-7, and I have a pitch session booked with the wonderful Kristin Nelson (squee!) I’m very excited, but after putting IoS to bed (for now) I will likely spend the next week prepping for SiWC. I’m going to be reviewing my idea files for what I want to work on next.
While I wait to hear back from editors/agents/publishers about IoS, I’m going to be starting on/returning to other novel-length projects like Gerod and the Lions.
Come November, though, I’m going to be tackling another project for NaNoWriMo (!) I only have until the 19th off, but I’m thinking it’s time to get something else up and out there. This may be the idea file project I choose to prep for SiWC.
So that’s pretty much my writing ambitions.
I have said that I would participate in Khara House’s October Submit-o-Rama, and even participated in Kasie Whitener’s Just Write 2013 challenge for the purpose, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get a pile of short stories submitted.
If it happens, it happens. I have some markets targeted, but I want to focus on my novels. That’s where I need to be.
On a more personal note, I’m going to be trying to work in a little more physical activity. I’ve gained weight just in the six weeks since I quit smoking. It’s not good. The clothes are tight. And I haven’t been as faithful with implementing new habits as I was with changing the old. I need something that will work with my life when I go back to the day-job. This bears some thought.
I have no doubt that when I do go back, things will be as hectic as ever, so the new fitness routine has to be something that will let me get the sleep I need, get all the housework and daily chores done, and still accommodate work and writing. And then there’s all that TV I like to watch 😛
I need to finish off my household clean-up (which stalled in September) and try to get the gardens into some kind of order before the snow falls. I have a few projects I’d like to get to as well: 2 ceiling fans to install, my office door to strip and refinish, and one of our external doors to repaint. I’m also looking at some storage fixes, cabinets for the bedroom and bathroom, and a new bookshelf for my office.
These last I’m not going to rush, since I think I’ll have enough with my trip to Surrey, another shortish trip to visit a friend in southern Ontario, and all the writing I want to do.
And then there’s Writerly Goodness. I’m thinking it’s time for a face-lift, and maybe a new
English: Epic Win title card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
name. My domain will remain the same, but I’m thinking that a more appropriate name might be Totally Epic, or Epic Win (for my interest in epic fantasy).
I could go with something more general because I’m not just about the epic fantasy, I have urban fantasy, YA and MG, science fiction, and even some cross-over type novels in my idea file. Plus I still write poetry and short stories, some of which are not speculative at all.
How about Improbable Possibilities (one definition of SF), or Speculations on Fiction? There are some old suggestions: Phigment’s (Phigment is an imaginary dragon—the site would belong to her), or MelanieM/Millennium. This last was from a friend who realized saying MelanieM sounds an awful lot like millennium. Does something else present itself to you as clever? I think I might just put a poll in my post this week 😉
A number of recent writer interviews have been delayed, perhaps indefinitely, so I probably won’t be posting much more than once a week (outside of SiWC, which I hope to blog and maybe even Twitter). If I have nothing to offer by way of updates, I may not post at all in any given week.
Just to let you know. I’m still here, but I’m going to be trying to shift my focus away from the interwebz for a bit and get back to the reason I started this whole platform-building gig in the first place—my writing.
I’ve been seeking balance for some time. Maybe I’ll find it in the next five weeks? Who knows?
Vikki was enthusiastic, energetic, and clearly loves what she does, on both sides of the board. Vikki is an author and a marketer, recently moving to Penguin Books (congratulations!).
Vikki has published four middle-grade (MG) novels since 2010.
So what do you do when you get published?
Celebrate! Tell EVERYONE. You never know who your champion will be. Word of mouth is still king.
Do some research (yes, it’s important in marketing too). How do you find the books you like? Work outward: How does someone like you in Houston, Whitehorse, or Harrison Hot Springs find the books she likes to read? That’s where you want to go, to get in front of the wave.
Who wants to read your book? Who needs to read your book?
Comparative novels (comps) are critical. It doesn’t even need to be a novel, as long as it’s in popular culture. “If you like X, you’ll love XXX!” “It’s Dirty Dancing without the dirty :)” “It’s Looking at the Moon meets The Summer I Turned Pretty.”
Who is your ideal reader? Define her in every detail. Who are your potential readers (again work outward)?
Your elevator pitch should be about the length of a Tweet. You have to tell people what your novel is about in pithy, taut, engaging sentences.
Be prepared to wear different hats.
Instagram is big with kids. Facebook’s where their parents are (ew!).
Goodreads is great for more mature readers.
Writers Cafe (dot) org can help you with critique, beta readers, contests, conferences, etc.
Find your niche and identify specialized groups that will help you reach your readers.
The Ontario Blog Squad will set up blog tours. 6 blogs. You create the content.
Twitter giveaways. People love free stuff! Specify Canada only. Make sure they enter using a Retweet (RT) and including a hashtag specific to you, your book, or blog. This helps to spread the word to all of your participant’s followers (and so on, and so on).
I won’t tell you the guy’s name, or who he works for, but he’s a publicist. I thought a publicist would be better spoken, honestly.
His session had some good information, but he was almost too relaxed, too casual. At times I thought he was bored with the topic. At times he went off on tangents or mumbled. He decided to wing it. He didn’t have a plan.
Print ads are not an effective use of funds.
Look for web magazines that have “up fronts” (= previews) especially if they have a print tie in.
A platform is not essential for fiction writers, but is absolutely key for non-fiction.
In fiction, the publisher may work with the writer to build the platform.
Build your relationship with your publisher.
A P/L or profit /loss sheet may determine what will be expected. Analysis determines what the most appropriate action or angle may be.
Do you have a business or profession related to your book?
Books = cultural entertainment product.
You have to engage your readership on social media (SoMe).
Some publishers spend more $$ on authors than others. This will be different in the States.
If a publicist is assigned, it’s usually for 3 months. On-shelf promotion (during the initial sales period of the book).
Marketing is different for every book.
Book trailers are too expensive to be effective.
Applications (apps) are even more inefficient and more expensive.
The Downright Ugly
One thing that emerged early on in the session and coloured the remainder of it was that this publicist works for a small imprint of a larger publisher and in non-fiction (politics, sports, world events). His clients are men and of the imprints authors only a third were women.
He made an off-hand remark about the ladies liking their beach reads. Fatal mistake when speaking to an audience of 90% women.
To be fair, I have to say that I don’t think the young man realized that he’d just insulted his audience unforgivably. Even after several women from the audience spoke up and made some very salient points, I’m not sure our publicist got it, or if he did, he was so scared, he didn’t know how to save himself with any grace.
I think it has to do with the publishing environment he works in every day, his mentors, his colleagues. I think the sexism is so ingrained, so rampant in his sector of the industry, that he wasn’t fully conscious of the prejudices he promoted.
For the remainder of the conference, our publicist was the topic of conversation, and not in a good way.
It immediately brought to mind Chuck Wendig’s posts on sexism and misogyny in publishing.