Monthly Archives: March 2012

Quit Beating Up on Myself


Once a month, I meet on a Wednesday afternoon with a group of local writers. Some have already been published. Some hope to be someday. The purpose of meeting is to support each other’s writing habit.

Lately, I have reviewed the progress I have made in the past 12 months toward completing my first murder mystery. I have made it to Chapter 13.

If I have learned anything, it’s that book writing is more than putting words on a page.  It’s learning from the experience of others who have already successfully sold a book. It is developing a support system to assist with hurdles like time management, writer’s block, procrastination. It is honing skills, not only in story telling, but also in public relations and finance.  It’s learning to use social media effectively. It’s finding the right professionals to edit, publish and groom your product. And more.

I was beating myself up for moving at the speed of an earthworm.

Upon reflection I realized I have:

  • attended a writers conference
  • executed the advice I received at the writers conference
  • blogged almost daily for a year
  • attended classes on writing by professional authors
  • started a local writers group and conducted meetings for more than six months
  • organized a Date to Write group that meets twice per month
  • completed twelve chapters (first draft) on a novel
  • dreamed up story lines for two more novels to work on when #1 is done

So when I look back, I pat myself on the back for productivity. I am on the beginning of a learning curve. My output will not be as fast as those with more knowledge and experience. I calculate that between blogging and book writing, I have averaged 250+ words per day for a period of twelve months.

I have earned the first level on Inkygirl Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Writer Challenge. For more information, look here:

http://inkygirl.com/250-words-a-day-project/

 

Use the Bells and Whistles


In a previous post, I linked to Ryan Tracy’s Tips and Tricks for Self-Publishers, Part 4. His post gives some advice (learned from his own experience as an author selling on Amazon.com) for authors who have completed writing and editing and are ready to upload  a book to Amazon.com. He suggests practices to get the most out of  marketing your e-book.

I adore the simplicity of his premise: use all the bells and whistles available to you to tell the world about you and your book. Sometimes simple gimmicks make extraordinary differences. So try them.

The average e-book author who is independently published sells a mere 45 copies per title. Use Ryan’s suggestions to take yourself out of  average status into the stellar sphere. In his words:

“Another tactic I think is often overlooked is to take advantage of all the bells and whistles on your book’s profile page on Amazon. For example:

• Solicit “likes” and customer reviews.

 • Activate Look Inside the Book.

 • Upload customer images.

• Add keyword tags.

• Add book extras via Shelfari.

• Create an author page.”

In case you missed Ryan’s post the first time, you may read it in its entirety here:

http://ryan2point0.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/tips-tricks-for-self-publishers-part-4/

Coolest Toy Ever for Wordsmiths


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

www.wordle.net

Deviating from the Norm


Since it is an election year and since the dollar in my pocket is eroding in value as I write, I want to deviate from the purpose of this blog for a brief interval.

I read an enlightening post on Zerohedge.com written by Tyler Durden that I am pasting here. It is an essay of sorts — how many of us read essays anymore? But as you are a thinking group, I thought you may find his perspective something to chat about over coffee.

Tyler Durden's picture

Presenting America’s Political Apathy: Voter Turnout Rate < 50%

Submitted by Tyler Durdenon 03/29/2012 – 19:18

The following chart from the OECD via Goldman, speaks volumes as to just why it is that the “democratic” process is slowly but surely completely breaking down in the US. Of virtually the entire developed world, American voter turnout is the second lowest of all countries, and only modestly higher than South Korea, but well below 50% in either case. Furthermore, since the voting population is roughly equally split along the middle in its party affiliation, it is astounding that less than 25% of America’s voters set the political stage every four years. One wonders just what the source of this record apathy may be: perhaps it is that as empirical data demonstrate, neither party actually represents any longer the interest of a majority of the US voters, but merely those of corporate lobby groups and, of course, Wall Street. As such, over 50% of voting age Americans don’t even bother to make it to the ballots. It may thus be only a matter of time before disenfranchised if silent majority finally says enough, rereads some of this country’s founding documents, and agrees that taxation is only fair with representation. Actually never mind: since about half of America pays no taxes whatsoever, the data actually makes perfect sense. And so the pillage of what’s left of the American middle class will continue, with nobody batting an eyelid, until such time as the only items left in said class’ possession are various weapons of assorted muzzle velocity and other sharp and/or dull but heavy objects.

Social Media is Taking Over…Don’t Believe Me? Watch This Video.


If you are over 39, and you want to remain relevent in business or in a creative field, you better read Gen Y Girl Kayla Cruz’s link below. Watch the video. It is a MUST.

If you are over 39 and unemployed, you are apt to stay that way unless you embrace the way of the world. Technology is rapidly changing the way business is conducted and the way people communicate.

Finally, if you are writing a book set in 2012, you better understand modern culture. If you have your twenty- or thirty-something character spending time on e-mail  primarily using a laptop, you are so out of touch. Your credibility will be negatively affected. Or your character may be viewed as social awkward.

As a member of the over 39 club, I learn and re-learn till my head hurts.

Social Media is Taking Over…Don’t Believe Me? Watch This Video..

Helpful Hints Re: Videography


Love this guy’s stuff.  I was blog hopping and found the site of still photographer Phil Kneen. He tells about using two sick days productively: he taught himself to use filmmaking software and produced the embeded video below.

By Phil Kneen

People/1:01 from Phil Kneen on Vimeo.

Here’s his words about the process:

(Source: http://philkneen.wordpress.com/2012/03/ )

I’ve never really had the patience for filmmaking, it’s something I’ve always been interested in, I’ve dipped my toe into it over the years, but stills photography always wins my attention. I’ve constantly been unable to focus my creative interest into two things at once, I suppose it’s a good and a bad thing?

Over the past two or three weeks I’ve been a bit ‘static’ due to back problems, this has had the hidden bonus of allowing me the time to sit and play with Apple’s fantastic bit of software, Final Cut X. With the help of Youtube tutorials, Google and a bit of intuition I’ve managed to teach myself the basics of this professional video editing package in less than two days. The fundamentals of video are actually easier, for me personally, to get to grips with as there are only 3 colours, red, green and blue, to deal with, as opposed to 6 in digital stills. All the other nuts and bolts, such as contrast, saturation, hue , etc, are essentially the same.

The video below is just a short 2 minute thing that I put together using existing footage and some bits I’ve made over the last week or so. Final cut is amazingly easy to use – I edited this film together in just a couple of hours. I haven’t seen many friends over the last two weeks, but those I have seen are probably in this short…

Tactic: A Photograph Says What Words Can’t


This is the second photography tactics post. The subject was once groundbreaking. It’s hard to imagine today that a time existed when no one had  photographed an ice crystal. Read more on the subject by clicking on the link. The photography is scientific in nature. It isn’t artistry, but the subject matter is.

http://serenityspell.com/2012/03/19/world-water-day-masaru-emotos-water-crystals/