Blog tips, Blogging, blogs

Blog Basics or 10 blog tips I learned in 10 weeks

Yes, it has been close to two and a half months since I first started blogging. Since that hesitant beginning I have learned a thing or four from gracious bloggers who love to share their tips.  One of these is Jessie Nuez from Latina Bloggers Connect. (At the bottom of my page you can find their badge and click on it to view several articles). Other tips were learned the hard way, by blogging and by reading other blogs.

Here are some basic’s for those of you who wish to bounce into the blogasphere:

1. Be willing to commit the time and be consistent. Whether you post two or five times a week, provide your readers with consistency.
2. Find your theme, niche, passion and let it drive your blog. Let your readers know the themes you will blog about in the sidebar or “about you” section.
3. Create an interesting title and format for your blog. Use text large enough to read and clear enough to distinguish from your background colors. Have a good text layout and utilize interesting photos and video’s.
4. Submit quality content. Check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Spend a few minutes editing your writing before clicking “post.”
5. Keep it short (most bloggers suggest 500 words or less) and sweet. If your post is a couple of hundred words more than 500 break up the text with photos, indents, or a quote, to keep it easy on the eyes. (This is a good time to remind you to use the copyright symbol after your main title or somewhere near the top of your blog).
6. Use guest posts and links to articles of interests. These can be articles that are relevant to your blog’s theme or current post.
7. Create catchy headlines. Readers want to know what to expect from your post.
8. Establish relationships with other bloggers. Reply to comments or questions left on your bog. Visit and comment on other blogs you read. If you enjoy a post, say so. If you found some valuable advice, let the blogger know.
9. Keep the site uncluttered, organized, and easy to navigate.
10. Have fun with it. Blogging shouldn’t be a chore or you’ll avoid it.

If you have some more tips to share I’d love to hear them. Until then, remember, “We Can Blog It.”

blogs, Ojai Wordfest, Pat Fry, Promoting your book, Publishing

"The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Book"-Part 2 of Wordfest workshop.

     Yesterday I talked about the first half of Pat Fry’s workshop. Today I’ll list her 10 ways to promote your book and include some information from other sources that fall into Pat’s listed categories. By now the newbie writer knows that promoting (selling) their book can be more difficult than writing their novel. That’s the purpose of blogging this kind of information. It’s not to discourage, it’s to educate one in the realities… not to beat you up but beef you up. It’s the author’s responsibility to promote the book.
     Okay, so celebrities of all sorts (movies, TV, radio) get an easy ride. All they have to do is show up at their own book signing, tweet about it, or hold up their book while on the Today show and droves of readers run to the bookstores or make a few clicks online. The book can be drivel, violate all rules of grammar, or shift in the point of view until the eyes cross, but it still gets the attention and the sales.
    But for the rest of us, there are some concrete things to do to promote your book, short of doing what the photo below suggests.

 Let’s get started:

1. Build promotion into your non-fiction: interview people, name them and they will want to see your book in print. Involve products with permission and promote book in that type of business: i.e. motorcycles, computer software, tourism bureaus or tourist locations.
2. Public speaking: Yes you may have to brush up on your presentation skills and step outside your comfort zone. Be flexible, be an actor, be ready to go this route as part of promotion.
3. Build a meaningful blog, website or both. Did you catch that word “meaningful?”  Keep up the site, do regular maintenance, keep it fresh and professional. There are so many writers, agents, and publishers who share valuable information. Get into that spirit of generosity. Blogs are an integral part of the writing community, participate.
4. Connect with your audience: join a club, group or several blogs that write in your genre. Collect contact info from writing groups, bookstores, other authors.
5. Get book reviews: An agent can help in this area or you can send out your book to get reviews before you are published. Use those contacts from clubs, groups, Publisher’s Weekly, and other sources.
6. Book signings: Go to writer conferences, book festivals, cultural events that relate to your subject or genre, contact independent bookstores, local colleges, professional organizations if the subject relates to their group.
7. Write articles and/or stories for local or national magazines.
8. Use social media: use this for special prices or pre-sales of your book, virtual booktours, and give-aways.
9. Join organizations that are specific to your genre: historical fiction, mystery, romance, Christian and all sub-genres.
10.Spy on other authors: how are they promoting their book, what conference are they attending, read their blogs.

     If all this seems too daunting, not your style, or you don’t want to be bothered, your book may die a quick death. Not necessarily because it’s not a good story, but because it didn’t get noticed.

     Or you can get out the megaphone, put on the red shoes, go to a talk show and stand outside waving your book, until a security guard escorts you away. You have to get publicity some way, right?

     Tomorrow, I’ll go over the third workshop I attended, “Working with the Media.”

Blogging, blogs, fiction, Latina, Writing

The Blogosphere…it’s a jungle out there

     There’s a friggin’ crick in my neck from trying to find my friend and fella novice writer’s blog. So I gave up and sent her an email. Then I went back and Googled ‘Latina writers.’ I’m impressed there were many to scroll through and I clicked on a few to ‘follow.’
     I picked up the word “Latinish,” from a site of the same name, good writing and an interesting perspective. First I thought the writer was a ‘halfer.’ (that’s what I call Half Mexican, Half Anglo or that’s what they called me and my siblings in the 70’s). I’m not really a halfer, but that’s another story.
      Latinish is an Anglo woman married to a Mexican man; she loves all things Latino, speaks very good ‘pocha’ and probably ‘real’ Spanish too.  I clicked on her blog to follow.
     Chica Writer was selected because of her book reviews. I totally agreed with one, but I won’t say the author’s name, I respect her previous work. 
     Then there is “No Hablas Espanol,” from a young late 20’s Latina, I think 3rd generation. Her writing made me laugh…”No Ninetendo.” Sounds like my kids.
     La Bloga was selected because it has a boo-koo list of names, mean’s un chingo, a lot of contributors who are published authors, including mis favoritas, Michele Serros and Sandra Cisneros.
     Then we have “Isolated Experience,” sounds very mellifluous. My son gave me that word, it’s one of his favorites. Guess what, he has a word tattoo’d on his upper arm that is an example of a mellifluous word. Not kidding. I love that title and clicked to follow it because I’ve been there (isolated experience), probably one too many times. 
     “Living La Vida Latina,” is just too cute. Great graphics and they had a badge I could take. I had a badge for years….another story. 
     And last but not least I’m following “A Little Cup of Mexican Chocolate,” because I loves me my chocolate, Mexican style. 
     So you’ll excuse me while I stretch out my neck and go make dinner, probably spaghetti with meatless ground and ‘gimme sausage,’ another meatless item. My youngest doesn’t eat red meat and hates ground turkey-“It smells.” I doctor the meatless stuff with garlic, onion, mushrooms, and lots of basil and viola, itsa spicy meatball. And of course, what would a dish of spaghetti be without a glass of this week’s favorite red “Benefactor Cellars,” from Trader Joe’s by way of Mendocino County-only $4.99. That should take the crick out of my neck.