Posts Tagged blogging

How To Become a Lean, Mean, Writing MACHINE

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In my most recent branding and social media book, I talk about blogging and teach how to do it well. I’m a HUGE fan of the blog for a number of reasons. Blogging is fabulous for platform-building, cultivating a readership, and streamlining our writing. Blogging is the most stable form of social media.

Unless the Internet implodes? Blogs will remain. But blogging offers writers a significant edge beyond the platform.

Getting in THE ZONE

When we’re new, it’s tough to filter out the world and “get into the zone” where words begin to flow. We might futz with the coffee machine, check e-mail, tidy the kitchen and do everything but write. If one looks at a lot of the big name writers, many were originally doctors, lawyers and journalists.

Blogging is journalism of The Digital Age.

Many of the most effective, prolific and most highly awarded novelists began in journalism—Jack London, T. Jefferson Parker, Jonathan Maberry are the ones that quickly come to mind.

Journalists possess unique skills that can make us stronger and more successful writers. A journalist can’t wait for the muse to visit to write about that big chemical company fire. They write whether they feel like it or not. They aren’t playing for fun, they’re “playing” for keeps.

Image courtesy of Reuters.

Image courtesy of Reuters.

Many of us are working multiple jobs and serving in numerous roles—caretakers, employees, spouses, parents, grandparents, etc. The world’s job is to stop us from writing. Our ego is our enemy. Our insecurities would love to burn us and our dreams to the ground. Friends and family are often enemy agents. Not being a pessimist, just a pragmatist,

Steve Pressfield calls it The Resistance. Seth Godin calls it Retile Brain. When I started blogging, it took HOURS. I perfected every word, every line. I had the attention span of a gnat with a bad crack habit.

Now? I homeschool, have four cats and a dog and run two companies. When I’m writing, I’m present, vested and bulletproof. I’ve literally continued writing with a kitten scaling my back and Spawn whacking me with a NERF sword while Dora the Explorer blares in the background. It no longer matters.

Right now? I have Shingles. Does it hurt? Like hell…but not right now. I’ve blocked that. I’m writing.

Did this happen overnight? NO. It took practice, but this is why I’m fond of blogging. It can be a warmup. It’s running lines or spending time in the batting cage. It hones our focus and trains us to put on our game face instantly and remain fully in the zone until the play is complete.

Journalists get the story. They can think when bombs are going off and gunfire is all around. They can be pushed, shoved, beaten and only the story matters. When they’re on, they’re ON.

Tighten the Writing

Great journalists learn to hook early, get to the point ASAP, captivate attention completely and then end. We can take a lesson. If we can say it in one sentence, we don’t need five. One powerful word is better than three inferior ones. Journalists cut the fluff and go for the guts. So do superior writers.

The car hurtled west towing a swirl of black exhaust into the light of day. It was low and old, with Baja plates and a loose muffler that dangled and sparked on the dips. ~T. Jefferson Parker Iron River

Look at HOW MUCH information we glean in TWO sentences and how many questions are raised in the reader’s mind. Why are they speeding? The condition of the car. Location. Time of day. Something important is making the driver ignore a muffler that would make the rest of us stop and find a coat hangar or a mechanic. But not THIS driver.

Why?

We are ALL works in progress. I’m always hunting for ways to streamline and say more with less.

Journalists also see details others miss, meaningful details. Blogging will make you notice people and the world in a whole new way. While other writers offer the obvious—“He had dull brown hair, glasses and wore a polyester suit”—we’re offering the meaningful. “He had the kind of face you forgot even while you were still talking to him.” (Daniel Suarez, Daemon).

The Office

The Office

Immaculate Deception

Journalists make deadlines. They ship. Perfection is an illusion. We could all edit our WIPs forever and someone will not like our work. No work will be “immaculate.” That’s a lie. We cannot write books (or blogs) by committee. It’s a good way to go crazy. Just accept not everyone likes what we have to offer. Not everyone likes my blogs (GASP!). They’re too long, too short, too conversational, etc.

I got razed on a Huffington post because I used the word “awesome.” Really?

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Am I going to quit using the most awesome word in this awesome world because one person thinks the word awesome is “unprofessional”? Nope. I think that they should find another awesome blog and have an AWESOME time reading something that appeals more to their ridiculous and boring preferences.

Blogging builds rhino skin and fires out perfectionism. Writers that make a living write a lot. Let go, move on, write more. The great part about blog-training is you’ll write leaner and faster and only get better over time. The last book I wrote? The editors I hired were thrilled because they could edit the meat of my work because the draft (although imperfect) was already clean. 

Yes, there are other ways to train/hone the same skills, but I am all about doing MORE with LESS. Blogging builds the platform, reaches readers and cultivates new fans, all while helping us become better today than we were yesterday.

What are your thoughts? Are you struggling with getting in and remaining in the zone? Find it difficult to filter out distractions? Are you seeing ways you can hook earlier, end stronger? Say less with more? Are you improving when it comes to procrastination or excuses? What other ways have you trained yourself to be a better writer?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of AUGUST, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Back to School!

Upcoming Classes: NEW!!! Going Pro Series

Going Pro Craft, Going Pro SocialMedia/Branding, Going Pro Business, Going Pro All the Way! (ALL THREE).

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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111 Comments

The Three NEVERs of Social Media

Image via Demi-Brooke Flikr Creative Commons

Original image via Demi-Brooke Flikr Creative Commons

I understand that many of you who follow this blog are new, so if you’ve made one of these mistakes, you’re learning. We all oops (especially in the beginning), so don’t sweat it. Yet, I see these three behaviors far more often than I’d like. These three professional blunders can hang on like the smell of dead fish and stink up our author career, so avoid them at all cost.

You’ve been warned ;).

Never Be Nasty in a Blog Comment

I am fully aware that my blog can’t make everyone happy. I work my tail off to entertain and enlighten but I know I can’t be all things to all people. If I’m not your cup of tea, just click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the e-mail WordPress sends you or e-mail me and I will happily assist you leaving (and cry later *sniffles*).

There is no need for this:

Ohhhh-kay.

Ohhhh-kay.

The irony was 1) I didn’t even write this particular post. It was a guest post and an excellent one at that 2) It wasn’t negative at all. It just wasn’t coated in glitter and fluff. Professionals don’t have a lot of time and shouldn’t need to be handled with kid gloves and 3) Was it really necessary? I’ve written over 560 posts and one isn’t her cup of tea, so we just carpet bomb?

I once wrote a humor post about my many failed attempts to join the military. It was a humor post. It was posted for Memorial Day and to honor those willing to sacrifice for the very freedom this person liberally uses…

Yes, this counts as a troll...

Yes, this counts as a troll…

And my personal favorite?

Um...OUCH.

Um…OUCH.

See, the thing is, if you want to tell a blogger she has the brain of a retarded chimp, that she’s a loser-poseur fake, don’t do it in the blog comments (or at all, for that matter). The comment is there forever, complete with the commenter’s name and face.

Oh, and it’s spelled “expertise” by the way ;).

Most of the time, when I get nasty comments like these I just send them to the trash. They aren’t heathy for the comment community and everyone has a bad day, which is why I didn’t include the gravatars of these nice people. But, remember, not all bloggers will be nice.

I have the right to be wrong and y’all have the right to un-sunbcribe, never buy one of my books and tell all your friends that oatmeal is smarter than I am. I get that I can’t please everyone, but there is a way to disagree and remain polite, respectful and professional. There’s no need for ad hominem attacks.

If someone writes a blog you don’t like? Fine. But keep in mind that this person worked hard and for free to offer you something of value. All they ask in return is for some common human decency.

People have long memories regarding those who are needlessly cruel. And sure, a blogger might be a new, unpublished nobody. Doesn’t mean she’ll remain that way. We never know who we might need and burning bridges is a bad long-term plan.

If you do goof and hurt a blogger, just e-mail them and apologize or apologize in the comments. A lot of bloggers (I’d like to believe) are reasonable. Own the mistake and ask for gratis.

Never Be Nasty on Twitter

Twitter is a wonderful tool, namely because it can help us go viral. Yet, that’s precisely why we must handle it with care. It can go VIRAL. A random woman on Twitter tweeted a nasty remark about rapper Ice-T’s wife and millions of fans pounced. This woman had to delete her account and practically go into witness protection. I am certain she didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, but it shows that tweets should be handled with care.

Sure, we can delete tweets, but often by the time we realize we need to delete one…it’s already too late. Twitter goes quickly, so it can get out of hand quickly.

Never Write Bad Book Reviews

This doesn’t apply to book bloggers and book reviewers. That’s your job and we love that you give us guidance on what to read. But, as authors? I believe in what Candace Havens calls Writer Karma. If I can’t give a book a five-star rave review? I just don’t review it. Again, publishing is a small world and we all need each other. The world is already out to throw us under a bus. We need each other to keep from turning into cutters.

If a writer really bungled and you just cannot remain quiet? Send her an e-mail outlining the problems and maybe suggestions how to do better with the next book. This way correction is private and we aren’t publicly and permanently humiliating a peer. If you goofed on this and now feel badly, remove the review. In the future, focus on reviewing what you love.

We Are Human

I’d love to tell you I’ve never made a mistake, that I am the shining example to all, but I’ve had bad days too. I’ve screwed up and had to apologize. Just own it and say you’re sorry.

We all need grace, let’s just try not to make a habit of needing it too often. We’re wise to remember there’s a human on the other side of that screen. The digital world is wonderful, but it takes work (and sometimes holding our tongue fingertips) to keep it a positive experience.

Have you ever had someone shred you publicly on your blog? On social media? How did you handle it? Did you cry? I used to. Have toughened up. Do you delete the comment or leave it up so everyone will know they’re a jerk and steer clear? When you see comments on a blog that are rude and in bad taste, what do you do? Do you make note of the name? Defend the blogger?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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163 Comments

Opening the Floor–Ask an Expert! What Do YOU Want to Learn More About?

Need some adverbs taken out?

Trust me. I be an expert….

One of my favorite parts of blogging is I get to hang out with you guys. I love your comments and REALLY LOVE when you share your stories. I read every one of them, and the only reason I don’t reply to all comments is because some of you subscribe to be messaged when there is a new comment…

…and I don’t want to blow up your e-mail with “((HUGS)) You are so awesome! I forget my purse ALL the time!”

I never run out of ideas because the world is a very interesting place. Writing is a complex topic and social media for writers is ever-evolving (along with the publishing paradigm).

I do try to mix this blog up with different content, some informational and some just fun. Keeps me fresh and you from being bored. Besides I am far too crazy creative to wear an expert suit all the time. I have to wear digital panty hose and they chafe :D.

But I want to try something different, today. I generally choose the topics. Ever so often one of you might ask something in the comments and that gives me an idea for a blog. I can keep just blogging about the things I find important or interesting, but I’d like to ask you guys what you’d like me to blog about. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • What do you want to know about fiction?
  • Plotting?
  • Character?
  • How do you hook in the beginning of your book?
  • When do we need a prologue?
  • POV?
  • More dialogue (maybe from me or another expert)?
  • Tips for self-editing?
  • How to find a good editor? What’s the difference between a line-editor and content-editor? What is reasonable to pay for these services?
  • How do we choose what genre to write?
  • How do you write YA?
  • How do you get started writing for children?
  • World-building? (for fantasy, sci-fi, etc.)
  • Differences and expectations in genres?
  • How do you create romantic tension? Write love scenes?
  • What are the fundamentals of good romance?
  • Scene and sequel structure?
  • Generating conflict and tension?
  • How to write a strong female character and make her likable, too?
  • What are elements of great heroes?
  • What are the must-have resources for writers?
  • Why is it a bad idea to put Band-Aids in your hair?
  • If you are brand new, where do you start? How do you begin that first novel?
  • How do you get ideas for stories?
  • How to do research?
  • Want to know about non-fiction?
  • How do you choose a topic?
  • Write a proposal?
  • Land an agent without using chloroform?
  • How do you choose an agent? What questions do you ask?
  • When is it time to fire an agent?
  • How do you pitch?
  • Create a log-line/elevator pitch?
  • How do you get blurbs for your book without using blackmail?
  • Which type of publishing might be a good fit for you?
  • Choose a conference?
  • Speak Pig Latin like a pro?
  • Do you want to explore psychological profiles for crime writing?
  • Forensics?
  • Want to write about the military or guns in your book and sound like you know what the heck you are talking about? Revolvers DO NOT have a safety, btw. Also, it is a MAGAZINE, not a CLIP. And if we call it a MAGAZINE CLIP, it makes us sound double-stupid.
  • Want to know more about author brand?
  • How to handle a pen name with social media?
  • How to use a pen name and ACTUALLY protect your real identity?
  • Internet safety. How do we stay safe in cyberspace?
  • How to use Twitter and NOT be a spamming @$$clown?
  • More about blogging? Where to start? What to talk about?
  • How to deal with haters and trolls without becoming one, too?
  • How to balance social media and writing? It can be done. No whining.
  • Want to know more about Smashwords? What does it do?
  • CreateSpace? How to use it?
  • Why it’s a bad idea to let your husband have a remote control helicopter AND access to Post-It Notes?
  • Want to learn tips for productivity?
  • Time-management?
  • Learning self-discipline? I was once a lazy sot, so if I can do it, ANYONE CAN.
  • Balance family, work and writing without going crazy…ok craziER. Y’all are writers, so you know we all start out crazy. Little disclaimer there.
  • Learning social intelligence?
  • Having a fabulous social media presence WITHOUT changing your personality (unless you’re a jerk). Shy introverts don’t need a personality transplant. You are awesome. Be YOU.
  • How to teach your child Jedi skills by age three?
  • How to deal with family/friends who doesn’t get why you want to be a writer and who are kinda jerks to you?
  • How to put down boundaries in a world with no borders?
  • How to be an expert on ghosts? What exactly IS a K-2 meter and why are all paranormal investigators named “Darryl” and wear a mullet?

These are just some of the topics I could think of. Most I can blog about, but I also am connected to other, more knowledgeable writers who are always happy to lend a hand (as y’all saw with Les Edgerton’s series). I am not ashamed to admit I don’t know stuff (like WTH IS a K-2 meter and why do all these regular people all seem to have them in their kitchen drawers like a flashlight?).

Honestly, if I don’t know about a topic,  I will just abduct recruit another expert who does know…and then promise to free them in exchange for a guest post. I have a creepy panel van AND a very impressive and intimidating NERF battle-ax. So here’s your chance to tell me what you want to talk about. What do you need help with? The floor is yours…

I LOVE hearing from you guys! Now you get to ask me questions AND it counts for the contest. How COOL IS THAT?

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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115 Comments

Humor is Everywhere–The Art of Being Funny

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Looks legit.

One of my absolute favorite people in the world is humor author and mommy-blogger Leanne Shirtliffe. I know if I’m having a rough day, that I just need to stop by Leanne’s blog or Facebook page, because she’ll have me smiling in minutes. One of the advantages of starting my company, WANA International, is I was able to abduct recruit my favorite people to teach.

Today, Leanne’s, going to give us some tips about how to make the world our muse—> then make it LOL.

Take it away, Leanne!

******

Humor is everywhere, from Tom Cruise’s teeth to your local pet store. You just have to look for it.

How do you find humor?

Watch what children do:

mixed up animal

Genetic modification for the tween set.

I grabbed a notebook out of my bedside table to record this bizarre conversation. On the next available page was this note from my daughter.

I grabbed a notebook out of my bedside table. On the next available page was this note from my daughter.

Look at sign combinations:

Make your own punch line.

Gives new meaning to “strip mall.”

Gives new meaning to the saying "to hell and back"

Gives new meaning to the saying “to hell and back”

Evidently my garage is a "community"

Evidently my garage is a “community”

Does watching mommy and daddy skull beers count as "live entertainment"?

Does watching mommy and daddy skull beers count as “live entertainment”?

Visit your local book store, especially the bargain books section. Look for weird combos of books.

Vampire-True Age Book

So you’ve found humor. Now what?

  • What about having a character in your manuscript come across one of these signs or combinations of books? Even non-humorous characters can see or find humor.
  • Creating characters with unique characteristics is one way to be original; observing quirky details is yet another way to develop a distinctive voice.

Interested in finding out many more humor techniques?

Attend my WANA webinar on Wednesday, April 24 from 8:30-10:00 PM EST, “How To Be Funny (Er): 10 Techniques for Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction.

All participants will be entered to win a copy of my soon-to-be-released humor book, Don’t Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to my Kids.

Click here for more details on the webinar and/or to register.

Where’s your favorite place to “find” humor? What makes you laugh?
How do you use humor in your writing?

~~

About Leanne Shirtliffe

Gravatar whitenedLeanne Shirtliffe is a humor writer whose book, Don’t Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to my Kids, has received positive endorsements Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy), Kirkus Review, and others. She writes for the Huffington Post, NickMom.com, and IronicMom.com. When she’s not stopping her eight-year-old twins from licking frozen flagpoles, Leanne teaches English to teenagers who are slightly less hormonal than she is.

Thanks Leanne! Please show her some love for making your Fridays more fun :D.

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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57 Comments

Plagiarism and Terrell Mims–A Chronic Case of EPIC Stupid

Image courtesy of ArtbyRetta WANA Commons

Image courtesy of ArtbyRetta WANA Commons

I tend to be a Naive Nell. I feel one of my best qualities is I see the best in everyone. What’s my greatest weakness? I see the best in everyone. I also like to give new people opportunities. I know that without people like Candy Havens, Bob Mayer, Les Edgerton, James Scott Bell, Agent Laurie McLean and others, I wouldn’t be where I am, which is an AWESOME place, namely because you guys are here.

This said, I like to pay it forward. Ah, but paying it forward can bite back, and I’ve been bitten way more times than I care to admit.

So back to stupid. NO, EPIC stupid.

I don’t even think I should have to blog about this, because COME ON! Plagiarism? In this day and age? REALLY????

Just…really.

But, we live in a world that must caution us not to blow-dry our hair in the shower or use power saws while sleeping, so here goes.

Plagiarism. Yes, it happens.

And I don’t like telling this story, namely because it makes me look like the Wold’s Biggest Jack@$$, but hey. I’m willing to be embarrassed if you guys can get something useful out of it.

A Little History

A few years ago, I decided to try a different kind of writing workshop. I’d been in a traditional “let’s read 5 pages and critique” group, and, while that was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, I felt the format couldn’t handle larger works, particularly novels. Thus, a handful of the members and I decided to meet for a content critique group that focused more on making sure authors began with a solid plot structure. Line-edit was for later.

We all grew exponentially as artists.

Excited about what this format did in person, I was eager to try an on-line version to help authors who couldn’t make a meeting in Fort Worth, TX. I didn’t know if it would work (it didn’t, btw), but it was at least worth a try. Shortly after starting the workshop, however, my grandmother became suddenly ill. She was in and out of the hospital and I had a one-year-old and deadlines, blah, blah, blah. So I asked one of the original members of the in-person critique group, Terrell Mims, to help me with the critique as a co-instructor.

Why?

Because he was blogging on craft and his blogs were OUTSTANDING. He was proof this new format worked. He’d gone from not knowing his @$$ from a hole in the ground to writing lessons that rivaled my own (and I spent MONTHS reading every craft book I could find).

Even when I talked to him on the phone, he was quite insightful about craft, frequently quoting books like The Writer’s Journey, Hooked, Save the Cat , Plot and Structure and Bullies, Bastards and Bitches (all FABULOUS books and recommended reading for the workshop).

His blogs were superlative, and he was quick to give credit to me and to WANA for his growth as a writer.

Awwwww.

*growls*

Anyway, Terrell was ideal to help with the on-line version of the workshop. He was single and had just moved back to his home state and was looking for employment there while waiting on his state teaching certification, meaning he had the time. He’d earned a degree in English (supposedly) and had even been teaching high school English (allegedly), so it was no stretch to believe that he’d produced the content in his drop-dead-awesome-blogs.

In the workshop?

Over time, I started noticing that we were giving almost identical feedback to the participants. I believed it was because we were seeing the same things. Yeah, that “believing the best in people” thing. I wasn’t noticing that his comments were always after mine.

My grandmother continued to be in and out of the hospital and by that August, my favorite aunt was ill as well and SHE was in and out of the hospital (often they were in adjacent rooms). A month later, my aunt passed away and the family was reeling. Since Terrell seemed to be seeing the same things I was, I said, “Well why don’t you take over for the initial assignments and I will only look at the final stuff? This way we lose the redundancy and I can take care of my family.”

I needed the help. I was choking. On top of all the health crises, we received orders my husband was deploying to Afghanistan. I was so desperate to keep the workshop going and keep to my word to the writers who’d trusted me that—*lets out long, dejected breath*—that I even paid $50 to send him a small BRAND NEW laptop I wasn’t using because his had crashed.

I know. I’ve already kicked myself a thousand times.

This is when things got weird.

Once Terrell was on his own, his critiques suddenly ranged from all-out-flaming-bizarre to moronic. Complaints started piling in, and yet I defended my choice. I said, “Well, look at his blogs. I have no idea where this critique came from. I’ll talk to him.” When I talked to him in person, he seemed to understand the craft. Yet, it felt like I was dealing with two or even three different people.

Long and short of it was Terrell got caught, and he dragged my good name and WANA through the mud with him. Not only had he wholesale copied posts—PICTURES AND ALL—from Cracked.com, he was kind enough to mention ME as his mentor and to thank WANA for the support.

*loads rifle*

So one day I am bee-bopping along when suddenly @HolyTaco calls me out on Twitter as a plagiarist, or that, rather, I train plagiarists, and I’m all like WTH? When I confronted Terrell, he lied and told me the guy was just a troll looking for a fight. Terrell then takes down the posts he stole, but here is the thing…

THE INTERNET IS FOREVER!!!!!

One of the reasons I strongly recommend against blogging about sex, politics and religion (unless it’s part of your platform) is that, if it explodes in our face? WE CAN’T UN-DETONATE. It is troll fodder FOREVER. Trolls have mad computer skills and a lot of free time.

This is also a reason NOT TO STEAL PEOPLE’S STUFF.

Terrell doesn’t seem to understand the depth of his sin. Writers are like elephants and we remember everything FOREVER.

Not only did he make me look like the biggest dope on the planet—“Oh, here little chickens writers, here is a wolf Terrell to guard you and your eggs stories”—but he had absolutely NO problem dragging my good name (that I actually worked my tail off to build) through the digital mud. He also had no problem dragging the WANAs through the mud.

So we all pounce on him and run him out of Cyberland, yet he still keeps resurfacing under new names. And this isn’t my problem. My problem is he KEEPS STEALING. His post yesterday—that he’s taken down because he’s been BUSTED by the WANA Justice League headed by Digital Wonder Woman @JamiGold and the WANAvengers ruled by Digital Dark Knight @JayTechDad—was STOLEN from freaking FORBES. FORBES?????!!!!

(I am Thora-Xena for those who wonder :D…a lot)

Is this just a special kind of stupid? WARNING: Please do NOT let Terrell near your shower with a hair dryer.

I am all for forgiveness, but we have to actually be repentant and CHANGE, and the only thing Terrell Mims is sorry for is BEING CAUGHT. When he originally humiliated me and dragged my good name through the mud, I didn’t make it public because 1) I was mortified and 2) if he DID mend his ways he’d have a harder time recovering.

Yeah. I’m all out of grace, and the innocent need protection.

What I don’t get is that you guys have no idea the kind of free time Terrell has. Why steal? He knew the material he originally plagiarized, so just freaking write it DOWN.

I am a mother, a wife, I run a global business with 30+ instructors, blog 5 days a week, teach, travel, do most of the yard and housework, all the shopping and all the cooking, AND I WRITE MY OWN STUFF! I may not wear makeup or clean clothes, but my writing is MINE…unless you didn’t like it and that was from the aliens who sometimes hack into my brain :D.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a WANA Scorned

WANA is a fabulous community that will help your platform grow exponentially, but love has a price and that price is integrity. Betray that trust and GAME OVER.

DO NOT STEAL.

Digital-Wonder Woman and the Digital Dark Knight Will Smite the Wicked. HOLY TACO!

We have CRAZY talent in WANA. No seriously, they’re crazy. Why else would they hang out with US? Some of the WANAs have MAD SKILLZ so don’t mess with them. Jami will tie you in a Lasso of Whoop@$$ that looks a lot like her blog. Here is her Storify of the #MyWANA “Outing of the Shunned” for those who doubt.  The WANA Justice League and WANAvengers are also sometimes assisted by the chaotic neutral Holy Taco who first ousted Mims.

And I am sorry this post breaks my promise to be brief, but there are wolves out there and I want you guys to be prepared.

Some Helpful Tips

Don’t Plagiarize. You WILL Get Caught.

Seems like a no-brainer, but apparently there are some brainless folks out there. There are sites like Copyscape that can check to see if your stuff’s being stolen. There is also the Internet archive of, oh…EVERYTHING at Wayback. And might I remind everyone of the WANA Justice League and WANAvengers?

There is NO reason to plagiarize.

In the new paradigm, we know our stuff needs to be shared. We WANT you to share it or we wouldn’t put all those share buttons all over the place. Sharing and stealing are different for anyone who is confused.

Get a cold? Kids get the flu? On a deadline and have no blog to post? Reblog one of MY POSTS. I freely offer my content so long as I get credit.

I am not alone. Most people are cool with sharing, we just want the credit for the work we did. That’s FAIR. Mims could have avoided ALL of this with a simple reblog. Post the first paragraph then hyperlink to the original post and give credit to the person who actually did the work.

Mims has content and original blogger has new readers.

Everyone is happy.

Rat Poison is NOT Candy–DO NOT EAT

Don’t use a curling iron in the shower, a radio in the bathtub, a chainsaw while cooking, and, for the love of all that is chocolate, DO NOT DRIVE WHILE SLEEPING!

Aren’t you glad I give all this free advice? :D

So there it is. Not only did I trust an epic-moron-sociopathic-thief in my workshop, but I provided him a new computer to help him steal more efficiently. Yes, I want a DeLorean so I can go back in time and kick my OWN @$$.

I still give opportunity to newbies, and I’ve continued to get burned, but the handful who make it? The ones that shine? They make it worth any amount of pain.

So let Terrell Mims or CDLaune or Captain Assclown or whatever he calls himself be a cautionary tale to NOT BE STUPID. Writers are generous. We will help you. No need to steal. Really.

Really.

So what are your thoughts? Fears? Suggestions for tarring and feathering on-line?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of January I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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127 Comments

The Most Powerful Social Media Tool for Building an Author Platform-Part 3

"Time's Touch" Image courtesy of  Cellar Door Films. WANA Commons

“Time’s Touch” Image courtesy of Cellar Door Films. WANA Commons

Taking time to connect with people. Connecting to them with words. Making others feel. In the end, that’s all social media and blogging are about. Part One and Part Two of this post began the discussion about why blogs are probably THE BEST use of an author’s time when it comes to building an author platform using social media. My final reason why all writers should seriously consider blogging is:

Good Blogs Connect to Readers the Same Way as Our Novels

Tweets are terrific and Facebook is fantastic, but blogs have a unique power to connect to our readers the same way as our novels. Blogs give people a chance to meet and fall in love with our writing voice. Voice is what makes each writer distinctive. No reader would mistake Hemingway for Faulkner or Tess Gerritson for Sandra Brown.

Voice is like an emotional fingerprint that is unique to each writer, and voice cannot help but influence our writing, all of our writing. Novels and blogs are our progeny, and they share elements of our creative essence. The key is to learn how to blog in ways which maximize our writing voice (which I happen to teach in my blogging class ;)).

Like writing great novels, writing great blogs is also about technique and skill. But, once a writer understands how to harness the power of the blog, there is no limit to what she can accomplish.

Blogs are long lasting and afford us an opportunity to cultivate our future fans before the book is even finished. Blogs help shape us into fitter, leaner professionals with the power to work exponentially instead of linearly. When Twitter tweets its last tweet and Facebook implodes into a black hole, your blog, your platform and your fans will remain.

Also, and this is a big point, blogs can be harvested for content and made into e-books either for sale or for promotion. Don’t give away your fiction for .99. Give away your blog-to-book for .99 with purchase of your novel. If people love your blog, then having favorite posts in one e-book is valuable. No need to hand away your art. Let your blog help you promote. Your blog is an investment that will just keep giving returns, and in my mind, it’s the best use of our time and our skills.

Last time I will mention this (until the next time, ha ha ha ha ha)…

If you want to learn how to create a good author blog that appeals to readers not just other writers, please sign up for my next class. Registration is now open and there are all types of packages for every price range. The class can be done at your own pace and in your own time and you will have a team of support.

What are your thoughts? Who are some of your favorite bloggers? What do you think makes a blog bad, boring, unappealing? Some of the WANAs out there, share your success stories. Brag! You worked for it!

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of January I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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37 Comments

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