Monday, January 27, 2014

Balancing Progress - FB Author Page

All weeks are not created equal. No, I didn't get my website going yet. That's still in the prep stages (see previous posts). I'm doing the work, I'm baby-stepping. But I did make more progress elsewhere. And that gets me to my writer's tip today: Everything you do leads to progress. Yes, those crummy scenes you later delete can lead to better ideas and better writing. Even time on social media can lead to needed information, opportunities, or a better mood. Just remember that moderation is key. (Perhaps you are one who needs an egg timer to bring you back to your intended focus?) The point is that doing means action and action (eventually) gets results. For me, my actions didn't yet result in a website, but I'll get there. We don't have to be too hard on ourselves. Find the right balance of working toward your goals so that you accomplish effectively without over-stressing. Work hard when you can, take a breather when you need to.

This past week my efforts led me to set up my Facebook Author page. Perhaps prematurely, but I'm getting in on having people 'like' my page as part of a Rafflecopter giveaway for someone's blog tour next month. So that's done and you can check it out through the badge on the sidebar. 

The new-to-me blog of the week is Fire and Ice, a good-sized blog which highlights books through reviews, blog tours, author spotlights, etc. They promote YA, children's, and LDS fiction. I'm bookmarking them for future reference. Find them at

Looks like a week of revisions on Bishop Stories for me and finishing up a book review. What have you been up to?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Website Prep - Understanding the Web

In my quest to build an author website, I've come to understand more about getting traffic to that site and how the web works. Maybe you already have a good handle on this, but I'll blame my learning curve on being from "an older generation". (Who knew a fifty-something-year-old would need a website?) Let's simplify my findings into 3 main points: 1) Keywords, 2) Links, and 3) Activity.
1) Keywords. When someone uses a search engine, they only want to see choices come up that are relevant to their request. This relevance is largely determined by matching the text on your site with keywords or phrases put into the search engine. There are keyword tools you can use to make certain you have text rich in word content that will attract more viewers.
2) Links. Both inbound (people coming to you by clicking on a link) and outbound links (where you create links for people to follow once they are on your page) help to improve your ratings. A popular site that mentions yours and creates a link to it gives positive "link juice" to your ratings. Make sure to link all your social media sites to one another.
3) Activity. Your blog or website needs to be active with new text or images monthly. Don't redesign the whole thing. Just freshen by adding or changing out a button, tab, or even a word to have those "spiders" that crawl the web see your site as active. Blogs that are active have got this covered with each new post. You can find lots of interactive things to make your site interesting, but start with the basics to get going (see previous post).
For more depth on these subjects, you might enjoy this article from The Guardian. As for me, the plan this week is to find the right images I want to put on my soon-to-bloom site.
Meet Rebecca on the new-to-me blog of the week at You'll find some heartfelt posts, writing experiences, and book/author spotlights. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Building a Website - Prep Stages

Why: I've been told by a website technician that the main purpose of having a website is to provide an effective way to grow an e-mail list of potential customers. The target audience comes to you when they sign up for your newsletter, for example, so you can let them know about your events/products/services of interest to them. These lists garner the greatest marketing success because the person is already interested. Obviously, there are other purposes for having a website. For authors, this means thinking about business/marketing when you'd rather be writing.

Timing: My goal is to get my author website up within the next month. Why worry about having an author website when my book(s) won't come out come until a year or so from now? Rankings. Exposure. Longevity plus activity equates to higher placement in search engines. We want to optimize all efforts made. So, since I'm going to build one eventually... why not now?

Consider: What can you offer now? Anyone can put up their author bio and what they are currently working on. List any awards you've earned or share a writing sample. These can be switched out later for actual images of your book cover. A way to contact you is a must. Do you have a blog or social media site you can link to? These will send traffic your way. All these things and more can be put on a website before your actual book comes out.

Prep Work Now: Get ideas from other websites. Find the kind of template you like. What inspires you? I've begun this process and it can be mind-boggling. One suggestion would be to compare two sites at a time and eliminate one by figuring out what you like better about the other. Jot that thing down. Do the colors strike you? The simplicity? Interaction? Make a short list of things you like best... and see if it lists the site host (maybe in fine print at the bottom). Another thing to do now would be to have someone take a few photos of you if you don't already have a professionally-appropriate profile picture. Figure out your domain name options and your website title. Let your plans simmer and settle.
I'll be posting more about my own experiences with this and I'd love to hear about yours. You can also leave your website address in the comment box for us to check out. Finally, I'll link one good article I found about the basics.

The New-to-me Blog of the week is Mel's Shelves at I found book reviews and blog tour contest buttons. A nice reader site. Want me to check out your blog? Leave the address in a comment.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January Writing Goals and A Call For Missionary Stories

What a great way for me to start the new year! Did you see my children's story in the January 2014 issue of the Friend magazine? I couldn't be more pleased with the placement and artwork. Find it online here. It shows the a-ha moment when my then ten-year-old daughter found a family backpacking trip to be just like an event in the scriptures. My personal writing goals for January will focus on more inspirational stories.

In keeping with my inspirational stories line to follow the Bishop Stories book that I'm almost ready to submit, I'm sending out a call for "missionary stories". I'm collecting stories from or about LDS missionaries and converts that show the ups and downs of missionary life with uplifting or inspirational results. Send yours--yep, I know you've got one--to:  Don't worry about the quality of writing. Just get down the details. These stories will be edited to omit identifying names and give a light polishing. You can also e-mail questions to the above address. How about helping me with my January goals by sending your story to me now while it's on your mind? Or put it on your to-do list. Thanks so much!

New this year: With most posts I'm sharing a new-to-me blog to learn from. You can suggest a site in the comment post. This week I visited  She shared the importance of not rushing one's first book into self-publication and having more than one editor go over it.
What would you like to see on my blog? Writing tips, personal story experiences, book reviews, guest authors, contests?