First of all, I want you guys to know that I MISSED YOU! July was a whirlwind month for sure and reminded me of the days when I used to be on the road for sales. Wandering out of bed in the night to go to the bathroom, yet suddenly realizing you’re in a coat closet. Fun stuff!
We will talk about LA another day, because I have a GIFT for you guys. I KNOW! Another one? Hey, y’all are like my kids, and I’m a terrible mother because I dig spoiling every last one of you. Here, have some cake.
Most of you guys know I am all about writers blogging. Blogging plays to our strengths. Blogs are far less volatile than other types of social media. Twitter might be gone in a couple years, and Facebook could implode, but blogs will likely remain. This makes them one of our most POWERFUL tools for branding. Blogs afford us an opportunity to share our art, to permit people to fall in love with our writing voice. Blogs give us a chance to create those “thousand fans” even before we are finished with our first book.
***Kevin Kelly estimated that all an artist needed to make a really good living was to cultivate a thousand true fans.***
Blogs with pictures look better, rank higher with search engines and improve our overall SEO. Of course the problem with using pictures these days is, unless we take the photograph ourselves, we can be in danger of violating copyright. Many of you have already heard what happened to poor Roni Loren and how she was sued for using a picture on her blog.
We live in a very different world and the very nature of copyright is changing. I am not here to debate this or discuss it. I will say that you guys are free to use anything you find on this blog. If you have a sick day and can’t blog, reblog one of my blogs. As long as you aren’t claiming you wrote my content, share, share, share like the wind!
I believe in giving and giving generously. I know that YouTube (which is free) has been largely responsible for most of my music purchases. I hear a song. I dig it. I download it. And yes there are pirates and people who refuse to pay for anything, but we call those people thieves. We can never lose a sale with those people because thieves weren’t going to pay money for our stuff anyway. But again, let’s remain focused.
WANA is an acronym for We Are Not Alone. I live my life by this motto. I believe fundamentally in service above self. Does it get me hurt sometimes? YES! Sometimes I get hurt, brutally hurt. But you know what? The pain I endure for a jerk who can’t recognize a blessing is worth it a million-fold for the lives I am fortunate enough to change.
So here is the thing. Through adversity we find strength. Whenever I see a problem, I know the WANAs can come together and turn a tragedy into a triumph. When I heard Roni’s story, I was so hurt for her. Roni is absolutely one of the kindest, sweetest people I know and there isn’t a malicious bone in her body. I wanted something good to come from her pain.
I also know that we author-bloggers are already short on time and hunting around to check copyright or go through the legal motions of gaining a letter of permission is just too much work. Many of us have day jobs and families and then writing books and blogs and social media and on and on and on and we are already to the point of breaking.
So I came up with a solution. I know you guys are more than writers. You are creative people and creative people often can’t help being creative. How could we solve the photo/copyright dilemma AND have yet another opportunity to promote each other and serve each other. The answer? WANA Commons.
WANA Commons already has 117 members as of this blog, and we have collectively uploaded over 1,400 images. If you check out this group, you will see what I mean about creative people having more than one outlet. So many of the pictures are just breathtaking, and the best part is they are a gift. The WANAs have come together to share their images and you guys are free to use any of the images in WANA Commons. All we ask is you give attribution.
I hope more of you will join and contribute your images. I have several photographer friends who will be uploading images. We live in a world where people throw away the phone book and ignore advertising. Consumers go to who they know. Bloggers, particularly popular bloggers are the new taste-makers. In a world with the power of the four arrows (fast-forwarding through commercials) product placement is going to be one of the best ways to get business.
Authors all need head shots and we need images for promotion stuff and book covers, and we are going to go to photographers we know so I encourage the photographers out there to contribute. Not your best images. We know you need to make a living, and we want to help get your work out there. WANAs aren’t just writers. WANAs believe that we can work together to solve the toughest issues of life. Discoverability is a nightmare for ALL of us, so let’s work together. Transmedia helps ALL of us.
Seeing free images didn’t stop me from paying almost a thousand dollars for author shots. In fact, free images closed the sale for me. I knew this photographer’s work and I liked it and that’s why I sought her out.
Anyway, I hope you guys will come and join WANA Commons. No we aren’t Ansel Adams, but there are some really stunning photographs on there. To those who have contributed, you are beautiful wonderful awesome souls and you remind me each and every day why I LOVE my job. Thank you for sharing.
Just go to Flikr and sign up for an account if you don’t already have one. Also, please make sure to tag your images with what the image IS. This will help us sort through the images faster. Make sure to put YOUR NAME and WANA Commons on all of the images you tag. This will help us AND will help your SEO. Thank you ahead of time for being so awesome.
What are your thoughts? What other forms of art do you like to do? What are your favorite things to take pictures of? What kind of pictures do you need? Maybe we can all be on the lookout, our iPhones at the ready to help a WANA peep in need.
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. 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.
***Changing the contest.
It is a lot of work to pick the winners each week. Not that you guys aren’t totally worth it, but with the launch of WANA International and WANATribe I need to streamline. So 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).
And also, winners will now 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 August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck! Also, I will announce July’s winner probably on Friday. I need time to tally everything and I am not even fully unpacked yet.
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.