Create a Time Management Plan Platform Challenge Day 23

Robert Lee Brewer's platform challenge assignment for yesterday was to create a time management plan. He believes that we must manage our time so we can remain connected on our social networks and still spend the majority of our time writing. I have been fully aware of this ever since I retired from my day job in April 2010 and plunked myself in my chair at my home office and began my life as a full-time writer. Even though I allow myself a lot of time to write, I find myself wandering every so often to look at my email, check my Facebook comments and likes, see if anything is happening here at Choices, and respond to Twitter messages and retweets. I feel if I'm going to participate in the social media at all it's a matter of give and take. If someone gives to me, I have to give back. View from my office Just now I found a comment on an article that went live yesterday. If someone was generous enough to make a comment on my piece, I had to write a thank you right away, didn't … [Read more...]

The Independent Author Network

I recently joined The Independent Authors Network and I think it is paying off already in turns of book sales and reach. I recommend it to my author friends out there who have stagnating sales rankings, and who don't get a lot of marketing coverage. Now I think tweeting about my IAN involvement is a necessary part of my marketing work. Here are few bits of information about the network. But I suggest you click here to find out more and to determine whether it's something you'd like to do. And if you decide to join, click here. In the words of The Independent Author Network: Q. What is The Independent Author Network? A. The Independent Author Network is a group of like minded authors who are self published or published by a small indie press. The group is open to authors who are active social networkers at sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. The group works together to support and promote each other online. Q. How does I.A.N. work? A. Members are asked to … [Read more...]

Challenges and writing work update

Yesterday and today's assignments for the April platform challenge were to accomplish things I had already done build a Facebook profile and give myself a Twitter name. I also have a Facebook author page. So I was ahead of the game there. However, Robert Lee Brewer is always very generous with his helpful hints. I'll give you the links to Day 3 and Day 4 here and you can visit both sites if you're interested in learning more. I feel that I know very little about how to use Twitter so I can use all the help I can get. I have, however, heard that Re-Tweets are golden. I had two yesterday that got to thousands of followers. I guess I'm doing something right. I'm also keeping up with my goal of writing 1000 words on my novel a week, and I'm now writing a poem a day for Robert Lee Brewer's other April challenge. The prompts are always interesting. Today's was: take the phrase 100% (blank), replace the blank with a word, make that the title of your poem, and then write a poem. So far … [Read more...]

Social network and novel work updates

Social Network Update I've now joined BranchOut and Pinterest as if I needed more social network connections than I already have, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads. I really don't know what BranchOut is all about and Pinterest is even more of a riddle. A recent pin on my Pinterest for the home board According to their websites: BranchOut makes it easy to search for jobs and see inside connections in your network. Our quick tour will help you discover BranchOut's powerful features. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. I haven't really worked with BranchOut yet because I haven't been actively looking for a job but of course one never … [Read more...]

Getting the word out about my memoir day by day

There has been a lot of mentions of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. On Saturday two women wrote they have to read my book in a conversation on the Facebook page called Loss of An Adult or Young Adult Child. Monday I got a call from an old friend of Bob's who lives in Springfield IL that he just finished my book and how much he thinks it will help others. Yesterday I received an actual letter from a woman I've never met. She said someone gave her my book and this was the first time I have found a story about my son Jason¦our stories are the same. Her own son died by suicide ten years ago. She also said and this is mind blowing that my Paul was in her home in Redondo Beach. She says she'd like to speak with me and left a phone number. I called and left a message but haven't heard back. This letter only emphasizes how many stories are out there like my own. I hear words like this mother's over and over again when I tell them what my book is about. And, I did fi … [Read more...]

Blatant bragging

This book is getting lots of kudos As of today my memoir has twenty-two reviews up on Amazon. Twenty are five-star, and even though they wrote terrific reviews, two people gave the book only four-stars. Really what's up with that? But rather than complaining I'm just going to shout out Hip, Hip Hooray. I am just so thrilled with the response and with people's reaction to the story and the writing in my book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think people would react so well to my words. A friend told me last night that she was just going to read my book to support me, and she found once she opened it she couldn't put it down. She kept raving about it. Now I couldn't ask for more than that. Plus, when I asked her to post a review, she posted almost immediately. That's a true friend. I thank her so much. So, if you're reading this and you've read my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, please post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or … [Read more...]

Is my marketing program beginning to pay off?

So, it looks like there's been a little movement in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, Amazon sales ranking this week. It went down from as high as in the one millions to the 700,000s earlier this week, and back up to the one millions again and down to the 300,000s today. Does that mean two books have sold? I have no clue what those numbers mean. But hopefully all that has been going on in the last few weeks has spurred some sales: my talk at the American Association of University Women in mid November, Marla Miller (Marketing the Muse) highlighting my platform earlier this week and posting my July 19, 2010 blog piece about my journey to getting published yesterday, my showcase on The Hamilton Gallery with links to Amazon for book purchases, and another five-star review up on Amazon yesterday. It's really been a yeasty time. Plus I've had more and more Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter connections, and I look forward to a piece about my work and book in a future issue of the … [Read more...]

Compartmentalization is tough

I've been volunteering at the Facebook Putting a Face on Suicide page for nine weeks now. Each Monday I sign in at twelve noon and stay focused on the page until eight in the evening. My job essentially is to either Like or respond with a message to every comment that is posted on the page. Though I'm able to move back and forth to my writing work or look at my emails or write a blog post, as I'm doing now, I need to check back every couple of minutes so I can respond quickly. It's not good to let people know there is no one minding the store, so to speak. I have gotten a lot of value from doing this job. I look forward to it every week because I know the wonderful service it provides solace to those who have lost loved ones to suicide. It is a place where our memories never die. It is a place where we can see their faces and read their stories whenever we want. Paul's Putting a Face on Suicide poster This job is also a huge confront for me. Even though my Paul died over twelve … [Read more...]

String Bridge by Jessica Bell – a sneak peek

Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Jessica Bell about her debut novel, String Bridge, and I'll post my review of it. But I wanted to give you a sneak peek today because I am so in awe of this author. Not only is she a marvelous writer and poet - I also reviewed her poetry book, Twisted Velvet Chain, a few months ago, but so astute at marketing. Her goal was to be number one on Amazon on November 11, and she got pretty darn close. She asked all her friends and writing colleagues to post information about String Bridge on their blogs that day and also got them to post a link to Amazon from their Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook accounts, inundating everyone - in my mind a totally brilliant move. She also created a twenty-day blog tour that started on November 1, the day Lucky Press (my publisher too) released her book. Many, many people were very happy to participate - including me. You can bet that I've learned a huge lesson from Jessica. I already knew it takes a lot of work to … [Read more...]

Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I've sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it's ready to go live. The piece is called Comforting Those Who Grieve. I'm still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I'm interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I'll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I'm scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I'll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son's suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And surprise, surprise, I … [Read more...]

If you Like me, what’s the point?

My memoir book cover photo by Madison Poulter There is a thread going on, on LinkedIn that goes like this: I'll like your fan page and Amazon book page if you like mine. So I've been responding to a lot of those requests, and now I'm up over twenty-five new likes in just the last week. But, I wonder what's the point? Do these new likes translate into book sales? So far, I don't think so. A few people that I've met through my social networks have said my book is on their list, but I haven't seen a bump in my Amazon rankings as a result. So with all this social media networking over 900 Facebook friends, over 400 Facebook fans, almost 250 LinkedIn connections, and a constantly growing list of Twitter followers, I wonder where it is all getting me. And I find that keeping up all the connections is a lot of work. Okay, I won't be so down about it all. I'm only into this marketing game about six months. I've got to give it more time. Plus the fact that my book is a hard sell … [Read more...]

Early Sunday morning meetings and a poem

Seagulls meeting on the sand Another group about a mile north Quit Procrastinating There are just too many distractions To tempt me away from my work It's like having A devil on my shoulder Saying, just a minute longer, What harm could another minute do? Early on when I first retired I thought I'd spend hours In front of the TV Eating bad-for-me snacks And I'd blow up like A bird on pasta. But it's not TV And the chocolate bon-bons, It's not curling up on the sofa With the latest romance That turn my head. It's email, It's Facebook It's the blog world That stop me from completing my daily writing tasks. Who would have thunk an old lady like me Could have her head turned By technology? … [Read more...]

I’m a new volunteer and I love it

I have a new job on Monday afternoons. I'm a volunteer administrator for the Facebook page: Putting a Face on Suicide [PAFOS]. I blogged a bit about this project last June but it doesn't hurt to tell you all again and again about it. I think it is just that powerful. Otherwise, I wouldn't be spending eight hours on a Monday afternoon volunteering to keep the sight up and running and very user friendly. People who have experienced a suicide of a loved one are hurting. PAFOS is a place to put that hurt and to keep the memory of their loved ones alive. It is not, however, a place to go if you are suicidal yourself. If you are in distress call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800 273-TALK. The mission of PAFOS states: Every 40 seconds somewhere around the world someone dies by suicide, that's 99 people every 66 minutes. PAFOS is an ongoing project soliciting pictures of your loved ones who died by suicide. Each 99 pictures will be used in a poster and a video, roughly … [Read more...]

So how’s the marketing going?

Since my book launch and signing just after my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, was released in early May, I've spent the month of June on a blog tour, coordinated and managed by WOW-Women on Writing. I decided to embark on this tour because I had hosted two other WOW blog tour authors in the last couple of years, and it seemed like a great idea. I'm sure I've said before that I'm a me-too kind of person, so there I was again, letting the WOW folks know that I wanted a tour too when my book came out. And actually making that happen was quite easy. All it took was a decision about dates, blog post ideas that included the subject-matter of my book and general writing-related subjects, and $350.00, to cover their advice and counsel about post topics and their picking out and communicating (almost continually) with the blog owners where I would guest post. The big bucks kind of took my by surprise, but very quickly I decided it would be worth it. Also in June, my publisher and I … [Read more...]

Finding healing support and hugs on Facebook

The ocean's mellowing effect I recently joined a couple of groups on Facebook. One is called Grieving Mothers (there is a Grieving Fathers as well, started by the spouse of the woman who started the mother's group), and Loss of an Adult or Young Adult Child. After joining both groups, my first question was: where were these groups when I needed them in September 1999? People post on them all day and night to share a story about their child who died, tell about the terrible time they are having just doing their daily lives, and ask questions about how others are coping or what medications help them or how do they keep the memory of their children alive. They console each other, they give hugs (((((hugs)))), or they just rant. They also use the word angel for their lost child and call a new child conceived after the death of a child, a rainbow baby (the rainbow after the storm concept). I love that term and I only wish I had been young enough to have one after Paul died. Of … [Read more...]