Sunday, 14 September 2014

My American Dream!


An 'American Dream' isn't only a dream to live in America--but dubbed the land of the free, where people can go to make a name for themselves, you can count on me--anyone with a dream to have perhaps a skewed way of looking at America. That means I don't need people telling me "America isn't like that" etc. and quite frankly, I don't need your limitations imposed on me. Well, that's how I see it.

America IS the land of opportunity--it's a huge place, and I know what I want.

I want to attend conventions and talk to people. I want to meet readers and people I've been talking to online for years. I want to inspire people to do whatever it is the hell they want to--and I want them to enjoy it!

They say "if you can make it in America, you can make it anywhere" and this is a saying that I believe! The amount of people who put themselves out there, and I mean REALLY put themselves out there, they're the ones that make it. I think it's the trickle-down effect that happens with America--based wholly on consumerism; they buy, they talk, they buy more... and before you know it, they talk to someone in Australia, someone in Canada, and then someone in the UK. (Yes, I know I'm in the UK, but we're a small place with lots of people. And America is a HUGE place with (I almost typed 'huge people') 317 million people. Growing by the millions yearly.)

That's what I want. I want people. I want a name. I want recognition--and if I didn't say that, I would be lying, but I'm not going to apologize for wanting to be noticed. I'm not narcissistic, I'm ambitious--and some people won't admit that they want more from life, mainly for fear of failing and not getting more.

Some Facts About Me...
I'm 21. I'm in my final year of university. I read a lot--everything. I've published three books, one short story collection, and a poetry collection--so far! I have four tattoos--one of which is a Shakespeare quote, and I plan on getting more tattoos. A caffeine addiction--*cough* Starbucks, so I'm fine. An allergy to cats, but also a love for them.

Goals As An Author...
I want to be on some fancy shmancy list--New York Times, USA Today etc. they're often unrealistic, but that's only if you tell yourself they are. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that I deserve to be on one of the lists, but I want to be on one. I also want a book to be turned into a film or TV series--to show the people in the world who don't read, a world from which you created, is something that is a goal, but also a dream I think America can make become a reality. I also want to be able to fully financially support myself from writing. Those are long term goals. If I'm looking short term, then I want to keep on writing and releasing books--and I will do that for the rest of my life.

What's YOUR American Dream?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

How To: Brand Yourself!


Your brand is important. YOU--the writer, the author, the being, YOU are important. Be true to yourself, don't act like you've got a stick stuck up your butt (unless you do, but that's not a good look, so--give yourself a little makeover and come straight back).

I'm not going to say that everyone has themselves figured out--I'm only 21 and I'm still figuring myself out, and I have no doubt that because I know myself quite well, I will never fully figure myself out. All I need to know, is that online, in my brand, I will be the best shade of me that I can possibly present.

Sure, your brand will change from time-to-time but not too often that your reader get annoyed. Find something, stick with it, EMBRACE it--often, it will already be embraced, you just need to present it.

People will much rather read from a writer who is excited about what they're doing. A writer that values their readers. A writer that's relatable--human.

Logos
Do you have anything that can represent you in a single symbol--or something that stands for you? This always a great way for people to associate things with you.

My logo is the hair and my name--I use it on everything, like a logo is supposed to be used. I'm all the different characters that I write, I put a piece of me into each and every one of them.

Genre
This plays a huge part in your branding. If you're writing young adult, but you're also sharing pictures of men that are only covered by a bed sheet and basically acting erotic, then you're not doing well by your brand. Make sure you stay true to your brand. The worst mistake you can make is mis-communicating or alienating some of your readership because they're not sure what you write.

Stay True
If something amazing happens in your life that isn't directly related to your writing--still share this! People love to know if you've got a family, personal interests, hobbies, etc. nobody wants to see you plug yourself 24/7, sure a little plugging every now and again is fine, people are going to invest in you, they'll want to know what you write.

Don't be fake. People can smell fake from a mile away--and some people can't. It's up to you which side you show.

A few years ago... February 2012, I wrote this in a similar post about branding:
I believe that if you want to be an indie author you will not become successful over just ONE book! So quit promoting it to hell and back! Instead, I think you should focus on your writing, Amanda Hocking did not become famous for that one book, nor did Stephen King, or anyone else for that matter. They all wrote several books and have a backlog - so build a repertoire.

The best thing that you can do for your brand is to write. Write often. Write everyday. Show people your writing--maybe flash fiction, poetry, short stories, or excerpts and teasers--something to intrigue readers.

You're A Business
Act like it. Above all else, you are a business. This basically envelopes all the other points--be nice, respect people that respect you, ignore those who don't. Remember that readers are the ones that are buying your books--there's no point in advertising to other writers (sure they're also readers, but they're also writers, and they can often expect things from you if they read and review--nothing against that, but I'd feel obliged to write them a good review if they wrote me one, otherwise, there's probably a fall out on the horizon--so I don't review at all.) so make sure that you're targeting readers (they buy books)... often there are pages that do reviews of books, or websites online where you can post your books and that you're looking for people to read them for you.

Have a fun, and have a great time doing it!

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Author {Jane/John Doe}


Before I get started--this post is not meant to offend anyone, and I've been thinking of doing a similar post for a while now, I just assumed it might offend a few people, however, I woke to a message that asked for this exact post. I guess I should stop second guessing myself.

I'm not sure what the running trend is with adding "author" to the end or beginning of people's Facebook profiles, or pages. I can understand why some people might want to have that--but really? Do YOU need it there?

There answer is no, you don't need it, and if you feel that it makes you less of an author for having it there, then you probably weren't much of a writer to begin with. You also don't need to call yourself an "author" on your Facebook page name as there is a section in which you can choose author or writer -- or whatever you are, and you should title yourself properly. Calling yourself a public figure or a website when you're neither, will do nothing but hinder you in receiving professional recognition; the form of a verified page.

In the message that I was sent, and I'm quoting here:
"If you are one, people will know it without you proclaiming it ... and likewise, if you proclaim it and you're not, people will also know it."

This is what I've always thought. You should show people that you're a writer by writing, by having a strong work ethic, by not making excuses, and if you do label yourself as 'Author Jane Doe' and people can't find anything that you've written, how stupid on a scale of one to Destiny's Child breaking up, are you going to look?

Today I asked an author what they thought--this author has the word "author" in their name, and this is what they had to say about their name:
"I want to change it back because it seems pompous."

There is some narcissism in having author in your name as it's a craving for attention--you want everyone to know in everything that you post, that you are an author.

I guess this is like another literary feature that we have within writing--the show don't tell feature. You should show people that you're a writer/author/blogger/poet by doing those things, by putting those things out there instead of just telling them that's what you are.

We're all people.
All 7 billion of us.

Make a great first impression--and make it count.

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Sunday, 7 September 2014

Is Success Talent or Popularity?


This post is basically a string of thoughts, and I want to know what you think about success, talent, and popularity.

It's neither, but both at the same time. Success is relative to who you ask--and how you rate success. Is it how you rate yourself? Or how others rate you? Is it a simple task for you, but a difficulty for someone else?

People might call you talented, but all talent is, is a skill that comes naturally--it's up to the person to decide whether they're going to grow that talent into something. With writing, I don't believe anyone is born with a talent to write--we grow up and we develop tastes; often starting out with reading, and creative play--it's when that creative play is encouraged that we feel able to continue on in our creative journeys; drawing, writing, etc.

Popularity is different--it depends on why you're popular. Are you popular because you associate with someone? Are you popular because you've built up a lot of hype around your brand? Because you're honest? Because you know what you're talking about? You're funny? Are you popular because you're talented?

Popular people can be more successful than talented people--you don't need to have a talent to be popular, especially writers--but depending on who you ask will depend on what they say about said writer. A writer can write a book, publish it, and know someone with 50,000 people liking and interacting with their Facebook page--this person posts a link to the book, and the book sells over a 200 copies like that. We don't know whether those books are selling because someone promoted them, or because they liked the writer enough to buy their book.

Do sales represent your success or is it that you wrote a book?
There is no right or wrong answer.

Success is a mindset.
The more you see things as being successful, the more success you'll see.

What is Success to You?
Is success about how much money you have? How many books you sell? (Depending on what's important to you, will depend on how you answer.) Is success having written that day? Having read? Is so, do you set daily goals? Do you achieve those goals? If you achieve them, then that's called a success because you've done something you've set out to do.

What are your views?

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Friday, 5 September 2014

How To: Facebook Page (Author's Guide)


So far you've loved the previous posts in the "How To" -- I've been writing mainly from a this is a how to and what not to do, and there's been a lot of drama llamas on Facebook lately over an author who's had the hugest go at the people on her Facebook page. So drawing inspiration from that, I shall continue--

I've been over a few things in my "How To: Be a Popular Author" with some of the things that you see people doing on their Facebook pages--one of these things is buying Facebook likes, I mean, if you only care about how many likes your Facebook page has, then you're probably not getting a lot of writing done. I understand the excitement that comes with getting people to like your page, but they're real people--not shell profiles, and all a shell profile will do if like your page once, and nothing else, in other words, they don't represent a real person.

As an author with a Facebook page, readers are your people--they're the people that make writing so fulfilling. So the first thing that you're going to want to do is SPAM the hell out of your Facebook page with links--always links!

I mean, if they don't know you have anything published, how the hell are you going to get any sales. So I say spam away... make sure never to post any real statuses that would give anyone the impression that you are human, or in fact, would like people to interact with you. (Obviously, scraping through the eye rolling sarcasm--you should interact with the people on your page. Ask them how they are. Get their opinions. Make them feel valued.)

Recently Facebook blew up over an author who'd disrespected her readers on her page--she told them not to ask question because she was sick of answering the same questions over and over. In a post after this, she then went to say that it was late when she posted and obviously tired--never do this, never disrespect your readers, a comment on the page said "readers pay your wages"--which is partly true, I think she's a traditional press author, so she is paid an advance before being paid royalties--and those royalties come from sales of books.

Like I've already said--buy likes, spam your page, if you've only got links on there, then you're doing really well! Oh, and don't forget to complain about your organic reach sucking, and it's because your account is full of these shell profiles that you're not going to get an organic reach. Nah just kidding, if that's all you're doing, then YOU SUCK!

#1 - be nice, be friendly, be personable!
There is nothing I love more than when I see a writer who is a real person--in both their brand, and in life. So be nice, be friendly, and be personable! Talk to the people on your page--it doesn't always have to be about your books, I'm sure that you have a lot in common with your readers. Is there a TV show that you like? They might like it as well! A food? A season?

#2 - share content!
Post original content, or post something someone has said--sharing content is a great way to interact with the people on your page. Create content! Write a blog post about something that interests you, maybe even find a picture on Pinterest that makes you giggle, or you relate to! Heck, if you love food (who doesn't? I know Pinterest LOVES food) why not share it with people on your page?

#3 - build organic reach!
In order to build organic reach YOU need to be active on your page--whether this means having people admin your page when you're writing, or scheduling posts--building organic reach is key to running a successful page (also, you don't want to have to fork out money all the time to promote your posts to the people who already like your posts).

#4 - have fun!
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!

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