Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Questions to Determine if Your Author Event was Successful

Only 2 people showed up at my book signing. At the craft fair, only a handful stopped by my table. At my first book signing at a store I sold 7 books.

It’s easy to wonder if it was worth my time. Did it really make a dent in my marketing?

At the first event I mentioned I shared chocolates and chit chat. I gave away free homemade beaded bookmarks. I shared about my writing journey and answered questions. We laughed and created some memories. I connected with my readers.

I arrived early and met the author who had an event prior to mine. She bought my book and I bought hers. We traded contact information for a possible future guest blog post.

One of my other guests took a stack of bookmarks to place in her church library. She also planned to check with them about carrying my book. She took my contact info because she is part of a group that occasionally needs speakers.

The third guest was a friend and fellow writer. She had already read my book, but bought another one for someone else and talked to me about my donating a copy of my book for a worthy cause.   

Before the event started, I passed out invitations to around 100 people. I invited everyone I knew through my social media. The bookstore had it up on their FB page as well as a listing in the local book news spot of our Sunday paper.

My 2 new friends signed up for my newsletter. One was already signed up.

Even with only 2 guests, was my event a success? You bet. Here are 5 questions I use to determine if an event was worth my time.

·         Did I connect with my readers? Was I generous and kind to them?        Did we have fun and make memories?
·         Have more people heard about me and my book through this                event and the advertising for it?
·         Did I sell anything? Even if it’s only one person who likes my                  book, they can make a big difference sharing with their friends.
·         Did my email list grow?
·         Did my contact information make it into more hands?

It’s important in the process of building our platform,that we don’t forget the face to face moments.

Have you had a successful author event?

How did you determine if your event was worth your time? 

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 23 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, who is now a Marine. She loves God and her family. She enjoys good stories and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter here

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Planning for Speaking Success by Jill Hart July 10, 2014


Info about the July WordSowers Workshop:

July 10, 2014  Jill Hart—from Christian Work at Home Ministries: 

Planning for Speaking Success: 

Jill has designed this workshop from her experience in coaching several speakers around the US, South Africa and Finland, helping them build their ministries from the ground up—the same principles work worldwide. The speaker in Finland now has a strong speaking career, two books in the market and a third in the works. She gave up her leadership placement with Mary Kay to write and speak full time. Jill knows firsthand, if you are a writer, speaking in public helps sell your books. You won’t want to miss this night with Jill.

 Jill started CWAHM in 2000 and knows the ins and outs of how to find and keep and audience. She is a speaker, Writers Workshop Teacher and an author. Her latest book is Do Life Different.
In January 2006 Jill walked through Parables Christian Bookstore to the Wordsowers group meeting in a back corner. She looked scared. She says her knees were knocking, afraid she’d never be able to measure up, and yet knew she need to hone her writing skills.

Jill is comical. The Wordsowers writers don’t bite even those who have never written a short story. 

Once we knew Jill, we found her already a confident business woman. However, like others, Jill’s first meeting with Wordsowers scared her. Today Jill’s CWAHM continues, she’s a radio personality and she's a published author. 
Jill's latest book

Don't miss Thursday July 10 Wordsowers meeting with Jill Hart at the bookworm at 89th and Pacific.
We begin at 6 p.m. and close before 8 with an Afterglow at the Starbucks in the same mall. 

Lionhearted Kat:  Share a little about your idea to begin a business at home and how you chose Christian Work at Home Ministries.

Jill: I knew that when I had kids I wanted to be at home with them full-time. Unfortunately we also needed a second income – there was no way that we could live on my husband’s then-military income alone. So, I decided that I would find a way to work from home and began researching all of the different options.

I ended up compiling my research on CWAHM.com and it took on a life of it’s own. Now I get to work from home and I also am able to help others find ways to do the same.

Lionhearted Kat:  How did your upbringing or your years at Grace University influence you to attempt a home based business?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Platform Building-Who to Trust?


 
Years ago I taught my daughter, Patty, "Don't take financial advice from poor people."

The same holds true for building your platform. Be cautious when taking advice. Be extra cautious when paying for advice. There ARE legitimate places to spend money, but Bill Gates could go broke buying all the courses offered.
Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee @ freedigitalphotos.net
We need to make sure the experts we're following are the real deal.
Dynamic Duo Jeff Goins and Tim Grahl go together like peanut butter and jelly. But more helpful and not as calorie-laden.
 
Jeff's an author and uber successful blogger with a following of 100,000. He's about "writing, marketing, creative business ideas, and making a difference in the world."
Tim's the Founder of Out:think, and author of  Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book. The tagline at outthinkgroup reads, "We help authors build their platforms, connect with readers, and sell more books."
 
My current budget for writing is $0, but I sign up for their free emails, books, courses, and webinars.
They whet my appetite for the awesome material they're selling, but I still get a free mini-feast from their sampler platter. For example:

I've learned the #1 most effective book sales tool is (drum roll please)
Grow your email list.
(Mine's jeaniej@cox.net if you feel a sudden irresistible compulsion to sign up.)

Tim Grahl gives this platform building advice:

  • Focus on the few things that work really well, instead of spreading yourself thin across a dozen platforms
  • Develop a system to figure out what is working and what isn’t, so you can keep doing the former and stop doing the latter
  • Connect with other authors and influencers who can help you quickly grow your platform
  • Create content that will attract new readers

Jeff and Tim both give away a good deal of free material. They're worth checking out.
 
 
Now on to
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

To recap what we've learned so far:
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
 
This week- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
The exception is dialogue. Sometimes.
Most new writers don't realize that editors keep Godzilla on retainer. When a submission arrives with words like
 
                                    "just"
                                         "really"
                                                "very"
they text him. Godzilla arrives, eradicates your manuscript with a blazing blast of fire, and collects his fee.
Play it safe and pull out the empty words yourself.
Read Grammar Nazi David Williamson's great post on the subject to protect your work...and possibly Tokyo.
            Like Mothra says, "Only you can prevent foreign fires."
Last weekend I hosted a workshop at Bible Truth Ministries church. I shared tips about getting into print from a new writer's perspective. My writing journey began 13 months ago, and so far I've sold stories for three books, two for Chicken Soup for the Soul, plus a Bethany House compilation.
If I can do it, so can you.
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off)
Make my website "prettier."
How about you? What are you working toward? I'd love to hear.
 
 

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen, and their upcoming, The Dog Did What? due out in August 2014. She's currently working on a Christian slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with Jeanie at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Watch the POV and Talking Heads

When the term POV comes up in the critique group I cringe. At least I did until recently.  Last fall when I attended Heart of America Christian Writers Conference in
Angela Hunt 
Kansas City, Angela Hunt talked about POV—Point of View.

There is First Person POV. The “I” person is sharing their personal story. This is often used in memoirs.

The Second Person POV: you, yours, yourself is used in letter writing or possibly a speech.

In the Third Person Omniscient POV an all-knowing narrator not only reports the facts but may also interpret events and relate the thoughts and feelings of any character. Charlotte’s Web by EB White is a good example.

Much of what I read is written in Third Person Limited POV. My problem—my fiction work often has talking heads or someone sticking in their thoughts where they shouldn’t be.

Angela Hunt's Facebook
I’ll admit I’m not the best teacher on POV, but I’m beginning to recognize when I’ve interjected words where they can’t be if the material is written correctly.

There is a new novel buzzing around in my brain. Sometimes I fall asleep thinking about which character said what. I’ve decided the story is told by the ex-wife and her teenage son. Two people using third person limited POV.

Sound asleep I woke up, sat up in bed with a blazing revelation. “They can’t say that. No one can know what happens in the hall. The wife is in the restroom and the son in a hospital bed.” Wow!

Today I picked up a book, I’m assuming should be third person limited POV. The stilted dialogue might not bug me if I could figure out who is where and when. A young single woman is sharing her story. When a young single man comes along she thinks he couldn’t possibly like her for more than a friend, he’s good looking and she’s homely.

The single story teller gives lots of back story before she meets the guy. While they are talking we get his thoughts. “Wow, her smile is gorgeous and she doesn’t wear a ring.” Then back to her sharing her life history with him—much of what we know from the back story.

He thinks, “Wow, maybe God sent me here to marry this woman.” (Hallmark I understand—at least they give a few days instead of minutes.)

When the young lady suggests he have lunch with her family he accepts. When the two young people walk out of the restaurant, we have the dialogue from the parents. “They’re going to get married aren’t they?”

Okay, so maybe the author is writing in Third Person Omniscient—but I don’t get it. Think I’ll try and learn the Third Person Limited well before I put my novel in the computer.

My random writing thoughts for today. Lionhearted Kat 


 
The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From theEyes of Joyful Widow.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Avoid Bookkeeping Drama

I don’t know about you, but every year I dread – and I mean DREAD – tax time. As the appointment with my accountant draws near I lie awake at night worrying about whether or not I’ve messed anything up and what might possibly be coming my way.

I wasn’t always afraid of my accountant, but several years ago, when I was transitioning CWAHM from “hobby” status to “business” status, I got caught off guard when tax time came. I had made quite a bit more income than the previous year, but it had never dawned on me during the year to send more in to the IRS along the way. I sent in to the IRS what the accountant told me to each month and assumed that would take care of it.

That year I left the accountant’s office in tears, nearly hyperventilating, promising myself it would never happen again. We owed several thousand dollars in taxes and I had no idea where it was going to come from.

God provided for us, but it was an incredibly difficult time. And now each year at tax-time I’m reminded of my previous mistakes and I begin terrifying myself about what I may have done wrong this year.

Calculater Photo from Free Digital
I learned a few tips along the way – maybe they will help you, too:  
 .     
If possible use an accountant. I would have missed a lot of deductions these last few years if it weren’t for mine.

Keep all business receipts. I have a folder in my filing cabinets specifically for business receipts so that I can simply plop them in there in case they are ever needed.

Ask your accountant or tax professional exactly what you need to be tracking throughout the year (mileage, utility costs or other things depending on your business) and make sure that you understand how to calculate any monthly or quarterly payments that need to be made to the IRS.

The difference this year is that God had people in place to call me on my attitude. My husband repeatedly reminded me to stop worrying and lay it at God’s feet. Several friends also realized that I was struggling and encouraged me to look not at my mistakes, but at God’s provision over the years.  He has never failed me. Even in the messes I create for myself, God is there and He is faithful.

The day of the tax appointment has come and gone and (praise God!) all was pretty much fine this year.  Going forward, I am committed to focusing on God’s faithfulness instead of my mistakes.

If you struggle with worry – about taxes or anything else – here are some things I’ve learned the hard way over the years. Maybe they will save you from some of the struggle:

1.                  Tell someone you’re struggling and ask them to pray with you.
2.                  Be honest with your spouse or significant other about what’s bothering you.
Free Digital Photo 
3.                  Be careful not to take the stress and frustration out on your kids.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God. Phillipians 4:6  NIV

Jill Hart will present the WordSowers Workshop at the Bookworm July 10th 

ABOUT THE OUR GUEST AUTHOR: Jill Hart‘s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries author of Do Life Different and the co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Connect with Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

10 Things You Need for an Author Event

You've worked hard to build your online presence. You also have to step outside and meet your future readers face to face. Enter author events. These range from speaking engagements to craft fairs, library events and everything in between. Be creative. Go where your readers are. 

At your event, you need to set up a display that gives your readers an opportunity to meet you, buy your book, and sends them home with something in hand that will tell them how to connect with you afterwards even if they don't buy your book. You also want to use this event to build your contact list.   

Your display should convey something about you and your book(s). If your writing is humorous or playful, let your display have that same feel. If it's a Victorian or fantasy setting, your display should have that feel. It should be professional and well organized in its appearance. Make it something they will remember. 

I didn't know what to expect at my first event and took too much stuff. Afterwards, I decided I needed to carry everything I needed by myself in one trip. After the second event, I decided I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel every time I needed to pull together supplies for an event.


I created my event-in-a-box. One plastic tub filled with everything I'll need except my books, banner and poster. These are too big to fit. The week before my event, I double check my supplies for anything I need to buy then load up my large bag and my box on wheels and I’m good to go.

Here are 10 things you need to take with you to your author event:

Table coverings. I have had large spaces and small spaces to cover, so I have more than one table cloth to choose from. I like to have a more elegant look and my table covering reflects that.


Decorations. A poster of my book with a stand to sit it in.  I like to add my Willow Tree figurine of husband and wife standing together. (these are things I have displayed in my home so although I could add these to the box, I don’t). The poster stand I use is a display stand for a plate or some other decoration. Add touches that give people an idea about who your are and what your writing is about. 

Informational posters and stands. I have an informational poster that nicely displays the cost of my book. I also have one with information about my newsletter. I slide these into a plastic display stand. They look so much better if you type them on your computer instead of handwriting them. You may have different posters you use for different events. If you make a new one, keep it, you may use it again. I keep these in a folder so they won’t bend. 

Sign up forms and clip board. Events are a great place to have people sign up for your newsletter. Maybe you’re having a giveaway and need entry forms. This helps to build your contact list so have something to offer in exchange for their information. 

Pens. Be prepared for people to walk off with these – bring plenty of extras.

Contact information and marketing material. People like to take something with them. Have plenty of bookmarks and business cards. I have been to book events where other authors have NO contact info. Don’t even think about going to an event without some way of letting people know how to contact you/follow you.

Your book(s) and pens to sign. It’s hard to tell with books how many you will need. Be prepared with a few more than you think you will need and a way for people to order one if you run out. Don't put too many up on your table at once. It will make it look cluttered. If you have a special color pen you like to sign with – I use purple-have more than one on hand. 

Giveaway. I like to give a nice handmade bookmark to everyone who buys a book. If it is a small event, I will give one to everyone who comes. I also have chocolates to offer my future readers when they stop by my table. After using a glass dish several times, I have landed on using a basket to put mine in.Readers will remember your generosity and helpfulness. Is there something small you can give to your readers?

Cash to give change and (if possible) a way to take credit card payment. I also like to keep receipts for myself for tax purposes. 

Snacks and water. I always add these to my bag– especially if I’m going to be by myself and don’t have any idea what will be available. Also gum or mints: I don’t want to visit with new readers with stinky breath.

Not everything goes with me every time, but I’m ready if I need it.



When I load up, I use a fabric hobby tote to keep my small items- pens, candy, bookmarks, business cards, and such - organized inside my bag. I have a large bag if I need more than will fit in my box on wheels and it sits nicely on top. If you use a box on wheels, you need a liner of sorts to protect your things from whatever may splash up from the ground. 


As you do your face to face marketing, have you discovered a tip or useful item to have at events?


Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, now in the Marines. She loves God and her family. She enjoys good stories and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter here



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Glue of Empathy by Robert McKee

A detoured sheep drawn by Savannah Wilkes 
Write a fun story using the two sheep photos. You can add your story to the comments here, or on WordSowers facebook page. 


Happy Dreams drawn by Savannah Wilkes  

Robert McKee says, “A STORY must build to a final action beyond which the audience cannot imagine another.”

When you finish your story for the newspaper, an article for magazine or a novel, all problems are resolved.

“We’re supposed to be better writers than they.The audience wants to be taken to the limit, to where all questions are answered, all emotions satisfied—the end of the line.”  McKee suggests, “The audience’s emotional involvement is held by the glue of empathy.”
Story on Amazon


There is no word count needed--be creative.

Remember, even a short story needs a beginning,
a middle and an ending. Have fun and send your stories to lionheartedkat@cox.net

 Submitted by the Lionhearted Kat




McKee, Robert. Story. New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, Inc; pg 140-141

Monday, June 9, 2014

Are You Writing God's Way? Workshop by Janet Nitsick June 12

June 12, 2014Janet Nitsick presents

Are you writing God’s Way

How do authors determine if the path they are traveling is their way or God's way? Janet will share her insights and tips and participants will assess their own journeys through fun-analytical handouts and discussions. 

Janet Syas Nitsick, lives in Springfield, Nebraska. She is the author of Seasons of the Soul, the story of life with her two autistic sons, Lockets and Lanterns, and historical western romantic anthology, Bride by Arrangement.

Interview by the Lionhearted Kat:

When I received word Janet Nitsick planned to hold a book event at Divine Truth, I dumped my plans for the day and drove west. When I walked in I saw this delightful lady in her elegant dress and hat. What a fun afternoon sitting and visiting with her.

Janet’s book Seasons of the Soul is a heart touching story about being the parent of two autistic sons. While we visited that day, Janet shared even more about the challenges of their family life, their travels and how God has blessed them because of their sons. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My MS Rejected--Now What?

Sally Stuart 
In years past I kept in touch with writers on TWV2. I posted, asked questions and learned from the well-seasoned authors that served as moderators.

Many of you know Sally Stuart published The Christian Writer’s Market Guide for years. Then a few years ago she sold her business to Jerry Jenkins. Side note: In my opinion, the market guide is a must for every author.

One day on TWV2 Sally posed the question: If an editor rejects a manuscript with a form rejection, is it OK to ask them to explain why?

My response: A month ago I sent two articles to an Adult SS handout editor. The same day the editor rejected both of them with a form letter stating, “These do not fit our needs.”

I replied by email. First I thanked him for the quick response and then I wrote, “I realize my articles didn’t fit your needs. Do you have a particular topic you are seeking? A hole that needs to be filled?”

Next day the editor replied, “Need Easter story for next year.”

Every Author Needs One 
I found an old article I’d written years before and never submitted. Sent it. Sold it. Celebrated.  

What did I learn? Form rejection letters say nothing more than ‘can’t use that manuscript at this particular time.’ They don’t say your writing is junk or the article isn’t good. I became bolder after such a great response to my email and have continued to write for this editor—more than once I’ve asked, “What hole do you have that needs filled?”

Submitted by the Lionhearted Kat 
Lionhearted Kat

 lionheartedkat.info lionheartedkat.com 

l

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

NEEDED: One Inspired Committed Go-Getter

First Cup of Comfort 
A few years ago I received a note from Jeannette Littleton, “Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers will be released April 10th with your two stories.”
Then the Publisher’s Assistant wrote, “We need your help. Every author is paid to help market.”
Lord, we could use the money, but I don’t know how to market. In the past, you placed someone in my world that wanted to use his or her spiritual gifts. Please, Father, give me that person now.
A few moments later, I heard the answer. “You have more expertise than you think. Hire yourself. You knock, I’ll open.”
“Is that you, Lord?”
“You said you planned to ditch your fears. Get serious about my plans for you. Spend more time talking to me about your needs and allow me the honor and glory.”
I prayed on the way to work. I felt giddy when I arrived at the office. My non-believing co-workers laughed at me when I announced, “I just hired myself as my promotional manager.”
One story by Kat 

The laughter ceased when I ditched my fear and marched to the cubicle of our company social committee chairperson.
“Nanci, I have two stories in this Cup of Comfort anthology,” I handed her my copy. “Is it possible the social committee will host a book signing?”

“What a great idea and yes, I’ll buy one.”
My stories in Cup of Comfort unleashed a dynamo in action. Every day I spent more time in prayer--kneeology production. Every day another door opened. My co-workers saw God in action.
Five devotions by Kat 
One day I announced, “I have scheduled 6 book signings, 4 newspaper interviews, and 2 radio interviews.” An hour later I reported, “A patient just called about her bill and guess what? She is in marketing. She gave me tons of leads.”
Later, Peg, the host of my first book signing called. Before we hung up she said, “I have a degree in marketing, lets meet. I’ll coach and you’ll sell.”
What have I learned?
  • ·         Pay your dues. I didn’t miraculously have the ‘know how’. I spent three years in study on FCW, Wordsowers, TWV2, and HACWN. I set goals, journaled praises, and wrote daily. I attended writer’s conferences, studied grammar, asked questions and accepted critiques.
  • ·         Pray. “Kneeology” is promised production. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Ephesians 4:6 (NIV).
  • ·         Pitch your product. In the past, I mumbled to my co-workers about my sales. Now I email my progress to friends and family. I have also become more vocal about my freelance status. I hand out my business card or a flier I just happen to have in my purse. My card says freelance author, but I know God calls me Freelance Missionary.
    One Story by Kat 
  • ·         Praise Him. Allow the Lord to receive the glory. Being vocal about the answers to prayer has been an ongoing witness to others.

Follow my lead, hire yourself, tackle new ideas and brainstorm often. Then when you look in the mirror say, “Look out world. I’m a dedicated go-getter with my bosses highest good in mind. I might be untrained, but I’m willing and I have a great attitude.”
My stories in “Cup of Comfort” helped build my marketing skills. Who knows with the continual writing and the promise of another book coming out, I might end up on Oprah or Joyce Meyer. With the Lord, all things are possible.

 To finish the story: Yes, I published in each Cup of Comfort until the publisher decided not to publish another one. My stories have been published in many more anthologies also. What I learned with marketing Cup of Comfort became my stepping stone into real sales. I'm still an inspired go-getter.

My hair looked different in Cup of Comfort Days

 
Gray hair just means I'm more seasoned writer 








 Story by the Lionhearted Kat 
author of 
Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers
www.lionheartedkat.info
www.lionheartedkat.com 


Friday, May 23, 2014

A Bouncing Baby Blog.


My daughter recently asked, "So Mom, do you have tons of blog followers now?"
Hmm. If she defines "tons" as some, then yes. Whoo hoo! I have tons of followers.

The pressure to hook readers can be intense for new writers like me. I'm tempted to grab people on the street, drag them into a dark alley, and force them to sign up for my blog and newsletter.
"C'mon, it's free. And I give gifts. What are you afraid of? Just sign up. DO IT."

Since the police won't let me use that technique anymore, it's back to work. I need to

  • Be diligent in writing
  • Submit my work
  • Stay active with the social media sites I use now.

So what's the problem? When presented with new technology my fight or flight response kicks in. Learn how to create a podcast? Aaagh! Run! Escape to the safety of the refrigerator!

Picture courtesy of iosphere @freedigitalphotos.net
 
Does anybody else push dreaded tasks to the back-burner?
Hmm, I can't do that now because it's time to
           Make a Starbucks run
                       Wash the car
                                   Check on the sleeping children AGAIN
                                                                       Cut the grass...with scissors.

My current lofty goals:

1) Stop chasing my tail like a Yorkie on crack and take advantage of free resources like YouTube. Sometimes their videos give clearer instructions than a company's tutorials.

2) Better utilize my current social media sites, like posting interesting and relevant content to my Facebook author's page.


Jeanie's tutorial, "What to post on a professional page."

A) A video of a two-headed lamb. Interesting, but not relevant. Leave it.
B) A video of a two-headed lamb writing poetry. Interesting and relevant. Post it.

In my last blog I promised to share
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's.
Those are things that cause editors to shred your writing, drive to your home, and sprinkle the pages like confetti over your head. Which is inconvenient for them, and wastes a lot of gas. In the interest of conserving natural resources we learned:
 
Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"

Today's secret is
Adverbs are our adversaries.

Using them tripped me up badly, royally, horribly, and exceedingly.

Our critique group leader read my first submission, stifled the urge to roll her eyes,  and told me to search out every word ending in "ly." A peck of them peppered the pages.

Here's the fix: Use strong verbs

Example using Dreaded Adverb: John walked slowLY behind.

Better: John lagged behind.

Best: Leave John at home. He needs us to make a Starbuck's run for him.

 
Platform building also includes face to face human interaction, which I love. So on June 28th I'll be at Bible Truth Ministries church sharing my experiences with others who want to start their own writing journeys. You're welcome to join us.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 Tips for a Professional Online Presence

When developing your online presence, it is important to be professional if you want to be taken seriously. Here are a few tips ensure you are putting your best foot forward.

1. When you create your online ID make sure they are the same on all sites. It’s easier to find you and establishes a stronger presence. Use similar colors and publicity picture on every site. This creates a cohesiveness for your brand.
2. Update all profiles for all social media sites you are on. DO NOT leave them blank. Put contact information into each one. You are leaving bread trail for people to follow back to you.
3. Have your pictures taken professionally. If a friend takes your pictures, make sure they are professional quality.
4. Be active if you are on social media sites. An inactive site is worse than not having an account on that site. So, don’t bite off more than you can chew. You don’t have to post, share or Tweet every hour, as long as you post regularly. You can schedule your posts if you choose. There are various sites you can use for this.
5. Keep it simple. An uncluttered website is more inviting to linger on.
6. Write an interesting bio. Make sure it shows your personality while remaining professional. Write it in 3rd person to give it a more professional tone. If you like, you can write two with one more casual.
7. If you use pictures on your blog posts, give the appropriate attribution. Just as you wouldn’t want someone to use your writing without permission, don’t use someone’s photo without permission. You can’t just grab any picture you see out there and use it. Check the rules of the sight you go to for permissions necessary.
8. Have a way for people to keep up with you. Make it easy to find the links on your website. At the very least, you need to have a newsletter for people to sign up for. But many people would rather just follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
9. Make your blog stand out. Templates are great for beginners, but if are able, upload your own picture. Some of the pictures provided with the templates get used in multiple places and start looking like worn out repeats. If you upload your own picture, google the size necessary for the particular social media site. Otherwise, the pictures may look stretched out or out of proportion. Fotoflexer is on online editor that is easy to use without downloading any software. 
10. As you post, remember how you want people to see you. For instance, I care a lot about politics, but rarely post about them, because that is not my “banner”.  Represent yourself intentionally the way you want people to see your brand. Some things I will post to my personal Facebook profile, but not to my fan page.  

In everything you do to build your platform, do it right. Don’t just make do. Google it. Ask a friend. Watch a tutorial. Pay someone to do it for you. At the end of the day, you may just attract someone’s attention because your presence stands out from the rest.

What have you seen other bloggers do that scream 
“unprofessional” to you?


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lori Schultz, Author of Buddy Bee Presents Workshop at Garden Cafe

Hannah Segura and Laurie Schulz Book Event 
Check out the interivew page to learn about Hannah Segura and Lori Schulz. Our workshop presenters on Thursday, 8th at the Garden Cafe. 

LIONHEARTED KAT:  The first post I browsed on your website talked about your comfy shoes.  Your word pictures and your description of painting them tickled my funny bone.  This feels like a book for kids who don’t want to give up their favoritest T-shirt they wear every day, or the PJ’s they’ve got to have.  Where are you going with the shoes, Lori?


LORI:  First, I have to ask you if you’ve been in my home recently at bedtime because my youngest son has one of those t-shirts that he wears to bed every night.  It is really too small for him and it is literally falling apart.  I’ve bought him new t-shirts, but he continues to wear his too small, tattered t-shirt simply because it’s comfortable.  I suppose he gets his need for comfort from me as I think about my comfy shoes, which are similar to that t-shirt.  My shoes do not have holes in them, however.  So, where am I going with those shoes?  That’s a good question.  I’ve been going to a lot of places with those shoes and they keep reminding me of new lessons that I want to share with others.  So tune in for more about my comfy shoes on my blog.  And maybe I’ll write a story about that comfy, tattered t-shirt someday!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Read the Interview of Hannah Segura, Illustrator

Meet Hannah Segura, Illustrator and co-workshop presenter
May 8, 2014 at the Garden CafĂ© 

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” - Stephen King

In December 2003 I received a delightful family letter where the three Segura children named themselves the “Three Cookies.” I fell in love with Hannah and her two brothers—it became a mutual friendship and later the “Three Cookies” called me their “On location Grandma.”

Over the years I’ve received many cards from Hannah. Her artwork developed with each year. 

Lionhearted Kat: Share a bit of your background, Hannah. I know your art work, your drama and your music, but help our readers to understand where you are right now.

Hannah: Being homeschooled, from an early age I was able to develop and focus on my talents, drawing just about every day through my teenage years. I now attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I'm studying Graphic Design, and I'll also be studying musical theater since it's another one of my passions. As a senior in high school, I directed and played the role of Eponine in “LesMiserables” with a cast of 60 homeschoolers.