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1. SCBWI Is Here for You

If you're involved in children's writing and/or illustrating in any way (which I assume you are since you're reading this blog), and if you don't already know about SCBWI, let me enlighten you. Because this organization will help you in perfecting your craft, learning about the industry, connecting with colleagues, and avoiding many mistakes that will save you time. 

The world's most unpronounceable acronym stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Our international headquarters is based in Los Angeles, and we have regional chapters throughout the world. The region we're in is Utah/southern Idaho. You can learn lots more at the web site scbwi.org and at our region's page on that site. 

Tonight--yes, July 18, 2014--you have a chance to connect in person with others in the organization, including me. We're gathering for the annual summer potluck, which is just a time to socialize, talk shop, and generally have a blast.  Here are all the details:


Hello writers and illustrators in Utah and Southern Idaho!

Writing or illustrating can be a lonely endeavor, so join us this summer for some much-needed social time.  We'll be coming together at the Rice Terrace Pavilion at Liberty Park (600 E. 900 S. in Salt Lake City, Utah) on Friday, July 18th from 6pm-9pm to eat and mingle.

You don't have to be a member of SCBWI to join us for this free event, so bring all your writing or illustrating friends with you. The more the merrier! 

Potluck assignments are as follows:
YA writers: pasta salads, potato salads, deviled eggs
MG writers: fruit, fruit salads, desserts
Picture Book writers: fried chicken, finger sandwiches, other finger foods
Illustrators: green salads, chips and dips
You may want to bring your own lawn chair as well.

SOCIAL NETWORKING AT THE SOCIAL:
Are you still struggling to figure out where to start with your online presence? Bring your smartphones and other wifi-enabled devices and we'll help you get connected. We'll have teachers on hand to walk you through the steps to signing up and using your social networks of choice, as well as offer suggestions on ways to contibute to the online conversation.
THE VIRTUAL PARTY:
Can't make it to the social? This year you can join us virtually! We will be using the hashtags #GoSocial and #SCBWIUtahSouthIdaho for this event, so you can follow the event on twitter, instagram, and other social networks.

We hope to see you at the social (in person or online)!


For a map and directions to the pavilion, please visit our website at http://utahsouthidaho.scbwi.org/events/2014utah-summer-potluck-social/

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2. [PR] September Romance Extravaganza with Sourcebooks!

{ED – I received this notice from Sourcebooks and thought you might be interested in joining their chats with some historical authors.  There will be giveaways for your to win}

 

Join us for our largest author event yet. It’s a party of historic proportions. On Wednesday September 4, 2013 we’re hosting six bestselling historical romance authors for an all day event—including 3 live author chats with fabulous giveaways. Additionally, the authors will be blogging throughout the day and giving away books, edibles, jewelry, and more to readers who comment. This is sure to be one AMAZING day. Do not miss it!

Event Schedule

NOTE: All times are Eastern Standard Time

8am-9:30am EST – Kieran Kramer will be blogging and giving away prizes

9:30am-11am – Miranda Neville will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #1: 11am-12pm – Join us as we chat with Kieran Kramer and Miranda Neville and have a chance to win some great prizes including a $25 gift certificate to the online bookseller of your choice (open to US and International readers), a “Love” bracelet, copies of The Earl is Mine, and a 30-minute long Skype book club session with Kieran Kramer.

12pm-1:30pm – Shana Galen will be blogging and giving away prizes

1:30pm-3pm – Theresa Romain will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #2: 3pm-4pm – Join us as we chat with Katharine and Theresa and have a change to win some great prizes including: a copy of the new release It Takes Two to Tangle, an audiobook of Georgette Heyer’s Venetia, read by Richard Armitage (open to US and International readers), a latte mug and copies of Swept Away by a Kiss and In the Arms of a Marquess.

4pm-5:30pm – Katharine Ashe will be blogging and giving away prizes

5:30pm-7pm – Erin Knightley will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #3: 7pm-8pm – Join us as we chat with Shana and Erin and have a chance to win some great prizes including: an audiobook of More Than a Stranger and a copy of the new release Flirting With Fortune, a copy of True Spies and the I Love Darcy bag collection, featuring: 1 “I Heart Darcy” tote bag, four Darcy buttons, one “I Heart Darcy” keyring, and and “I Heart Darcy” bumper sticker.

 

Get all of the details here

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3. Don't blog, do blog ... let's call the whole thing off!

Cartoon: Johnny Ancich By Candy Gourlay Over at Jane Friedman's guest blogger L.L. Barkat has called on experienced writers to stop blogging. Does this mean I would recommend that everyone stop blogging? No. I encourage new bloggers, just the way I always have. It’s an excellent way to find expression, discipline, and experience. But if writers already have experience, and they are authors

28 Comments on Don't blog, do blog ... let's call the whole thing off!, last added: 3/22/2013
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4. Geek List: Paying attention to Facebook Pages

I had a hundred million other things to do the other day but then I came upon this piece in the New York Times about "Protecting Your Privacy on the New Facebook". The NEW Facebook? Again? Sigh. What with now being a quoted company, FB is adding new meaning to the word INSIDIOUS. Having said that, as someone who promotes stuff on Facebook, I have found the Facebook page very useful in

11 Comments on Geek List: Paying attention to Facebook Pages, last added: 3/1/2013
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5. @aboy!

I'm a devoted fan of twitter and the world it offers to us.  Here's a wonderful blog post by, of all people, a medieval scholar, about how he started having fun and being productive on Twitter.

The only thing to say is @aboy!


(thanks for the heads up on this Mrs. Grant!)

3 Comments on @aboy!, last added: 2/20/2013
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6. Social Networks for Teachers and Finding My Place Speaking Engagements

Smarter Cookie, a site for teachers, logo

Smarter Cookie, a site for teachers, logo

It has happened again–I forgot to blog yesterday. It always seems to happen when there’s a holiday weekend. Then I can’t keep track of what day it is. SO, I am going to combine two posts–the one about Finding My Place that was supposed to be yesterday will just be a quick post about a couple of speaking engagements I am doing–in case you would be interested in having me at your school or group. AND then I am going to share a really great article written by my friend, Carole Di Tosti, PhD about social networking sites for teachers.

  • Speaking Engagements: I will be going a lot of places in February, but the three I wanted to point out are: Columbia, MO; Savannah, MO; and Wentzville, MO. In Columbia, I will be speaking to two community groups about writing a novel, researching historical fiction, and finishing a project to its end–the groups are COSMO (diabetes group) and Pachyderms. Both groups needed a speaker, and they are allowing me to sell copies of my book after I speak! So, if you need a speaker for your community group, let me know. Then in Savannah, I will be doing a workshop for TEACHERS! This is near and Final Finding My Place Cover dear to my heart, and my topic is 6 traits of writing! I can’t wait to share ideas with teachers and help them figure out how to use the 6 traits in the classroom. I can come do professional development at your school, too! Then in Wentzville, I get to talk to fourth and fifth grade students, who are currently doing a unit on historical fiction. I love to share writing and my story with children, and I have many different programs that I can present. They are on my website, under SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, or I can send you a brochure if you e-mail me (margo@margodill (dot) com). In other words, I love speaking and can accommodate almost any group.
  • Social Networks for Teachers: Have you ever been worried that your students and parents of your students would find you on Facebook or Twitter? Worrying about whether you should post certain things? Well, Carole solves these problems with a list of social networks for teachers/educators only. This is a must-read article for teachers and even children’s authors who are trying to reach teachers. Read here: http://technorati.com/social-media/article/teachers-social-networking-increases-with-the/ .

I hope you find this information useful! I am going to be featuring two great books next week, so stay tuned.

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7. Social Networking Is So Easy

We live in a world where everything changes daily and changes quickly. And just as those changes happen, so do my thoughts on the many opportunities available to us. When the blog post I wrote on Twitter v. Facebook posted, it made me think a lot more about the two places, and I think some of your comments helped that as well.

When it comes to marketing I think it's pretty fair to say that everyone is looking for the quick fix. We all want to spend as little time as possible doing the marketing we know is necessary because, truthfully, we want to write our books. And of course you know how important that is because when all is said and done, the only thing that matters is the quality of your book.

Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook, and other social networking markets, are not the time-savers we either like to believe they are or have convinced ourselves they are. Gone are the days when marketing meant taking a design to the printer, ordering a stack of postcards or bookmarks, and sending them to bookstores. Not that it was easy work, but it was a one-time deal (per book). You maybe took a day or two, or a week, out of your writing schedule to complete the job and then you moved on. Now marketing is 24/7, and if you're going to be good at it, and use it successfully, you have to do the work, which is a lot.

As I said in my earlier post, Twitter is great for connecting with new readers. It's a way to connect over publishing news, world news, or just pass along your favorite muffin recipe. It's a constant conversation with strangers, but strangers who just might find you interesting enough to want to learn more about you and buy your books.

Facebook is for fans. On Facebook people seek you out. Your status posts are not for public consumption. They are for your "friends" only. Therefore, Facebook is a way for you to connect with those who want a connection specifically with you. It's the place for you to talk about your upcoming book and connect with those readers in a conversation. It's the place for you to find out which of your characters is the most beloved or who they would like to see killed off in the next book.

I think both Facebook and Twitter can be hugely beneficial to all authors, but only if they are something you connect with as well. They aren't easy to use and they don't work if you don't use them properly, but if you do, wow, you can really find something special there.


Jessica

13 Comments on Social Networking Is So Easy, last added: 11/1/2011
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8. Trendspotting: the future of the computer

By Darrel Ince


I’m typing this blog entry on a desktop computer. It’s two years old, but I’m already looking at it and my laptop wondering how long they will be around in their current form. There are three fast-moving trends that may change computing over the next five years, affect the way that we use computers, and perhaps make desktop and laptop computers the computing equivalent of the now almost defunct record player.

The first trend is that the computer and the mobile phone are converging. If you use one of the new generation of smartphones—an iPhone for example— you are not only able to send and receive phone calls, but also carry out computer-related tasks such as reading email and browsing the web. This convergence has also embraced a new generation of computers known as tablet computers. These are light, thin, contain a relatively small amount of memory and, again, implement many of the facilities that are on my desktop and laptop computers.

The second trend is that the use of the computer is changing. New generations of users are accessing web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. These social networking sites have become either a substitute or an add-on to normal interaction. Moreover recent figures indicate that there has been a major shift in the use of email facilities from the home computer to the smartphone and tablet computer.
The third trend is that data and software are moving from the computer on the desk or on the lap to the Internet. A commercial example is the company Salesforce.com. This is a successful company whose main business is customer relationship management: the process of keeping in touch with a customer; for example, tracking their orders and ensuring that they are happy with the service they are receiving. Salesforce.com keep much of their data and software on a number of Internet-based servers and their customers use the web to run their business. In the past customer relationship systems had to be bought as software, installed on a local computer, and then maintained by the buyer. This new model of doing business (something known as cloud computing) overturns this idea.

The third trend, cloud computing, is also infiltrating the home use of computing. Google Inc. has implemented a series of office products such as a word processor, a calendar program and a spread-sheet program that can only be accessed over the Internet, with documents stored remotely—not on the computer that accesses the documents.

So, the future looks to be configured around users employing smart-phones and tablets to access the Internet for all their needs, with desktop and laptop computers being confined to specialist areas such as systems development, film editing, games programming and financial number crunching. Technically there are few obstacles in the way of this: the cost of computer circuits drops every year; and the inexorable increase in broadband speeds and advances in silicon technology mean that more and more electronics can be packed into smaller and smaller spaces.

There is, however, a major issue that has been explored by three writers: Nicholas Carr, Tim Wu and Jonathan Zittrain. Carr, in his book The Big Switch, uses a series of elegant analogies to show that computing is heading towards becoming a utility. The book first provides a history of the electrical generation industry where, in the early days, companies had their own generator; however, eventually due to the efforts of Thomas Edison and Samuel Insull, power become centralised with utility companies delivering electricity to consumers over a grid. The book then describes how this is happening with the Internet. It describes the birth of cloud computing, where all software and data is stored on the Internet and where the computer could be downgraded to a simple consumer device with little if any storage and only the ability to access the World Wide Web.

Zittrain, in his book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

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9. Social Networking: Trying Out Pinterest and Twitter

A couple months ago I started seeing images that had the words “via Pinterest” on my friends’ Facebook news feeds. It took about a week ‘til my curiosity was piqued enough to find out what Pinterest was. Once I found out what it was, I requested an invite. Once I received a Pinterest account, I [...]

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10. Destressing the Writing Life

For the past two days (plus today) I have been answering questions in the Writer’s Retreat Workshop on “Destressing the Writing Life.” You still have time to post a question today–or just pop by to read some of the discussion threads.

This subject isn’t just about destressing during the holidays. Frankly, we lead such busy lives these days that there are precious few “slower” months in the calendar year. You need to know how to destress your writing life every day.

In the workshop we’ve talked about such things as:

  • stress caused by the flood of information on writing, publishing and marketing
  • stress caused by the new social marketing–and how much is worthwhile
  • setting goals that motivate without stressing you out
  • handling multiple deadlines more easily
  • critique groups–and how to benefit from them without adding stress to your writing life
  • scheduling your writing day when juggling things like chores and a day job
  • unexpected stress that comes with success

Check It Out!

If you have other questions on this topic that you’d like to see discussed, post them at the Writer’s Retreat Workshop before the day is out–and I’ll meet you there!

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11. Twitter Tips

I love getting book recommendations. I mean face it, I'm a book person, I love to read and I love it when someone emails me or sends me a Tweet to tell me about something new they have just discovered. That being said, there's a big difference between Tweeting about your book release and spamming your book.

If you're a Tweeter it's perfectly acceptable, and encouraged, to let all of your followers know when your book releases, when you received your new cover, or where your edits stand. Of course, it's also encouraged to let them know where you are on vacation, what you're eating for dinner, what you're reading and other more personal bits of information.

It is unacceptable to send Tweets directly to other Tweeters (starting your Tweet with an @BookEndsJessica is what does this) to tell them about a "great new read" and have it be your book. Frankly, it turns me off. If you're telling me about someone else, I'm interested and appreciate it; if you're telling me about your own book, it's spam and it's irritating, and out of irritation I will probably not read your book.


Jessica

15 Comments on Twitter Tips, last added: 2/22/2012
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12. Is Your Promotion Making Sense

You've been told by someone what you have to do. Now that you have a book out or coming out you need to be blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, LinkedIn, Glad-Handing, and selling your soul. You need to add an extra 12 hours into each day just to manage the new schedule your publishing contract requires. But is any of it actually working and are you paying attention to that?

I think I've always been very open about the fact that I don't necessarily believe that social networking and all of the "have to" publicity and promotion you hear about necessarily works or should be required of all authors. I don't necessarily think that blog tours sell books, especially if you don't even know the audience you're reaching with each blog. What I wonder, though, is how many of you are actually tracking the success of the publicity you're doing.

When sending bookmarks to writers conferences, for example, do you really pay attention to how many bookmarks are taken from the table versus how many are simply tossed in the trash at the end of the weekend? When you do a blog tour do you actually follow up with the host of the blog to see how many readers (not hits) the blog gets both before and after your post? Have you ever polled your readers through Facebook, Twitter, or your website to actually learn what brought them to your book?

I guess what I'm trying to say is are you running your publishing career like a business or are you simply throwing stuff into the wind book after book, the same "stuff," and assuming because that's what you're "supposed to do" it must be the right thing to do?

Do blog tours sell books? I don't think they can hurt, unless you're spending hours and hours on a blog tour and not selling one book. Time is money and losing all that time is losing money, so in that sense then yes, I guess it can hurt. Great publicity and marketing means changing things up. It means not doing the same things book after book, and it also means that you need to understand that what might have worked for one book or one author doesn't work for another, even if you are the same author with another book.

When planning your publicity and promotion it's important to work smart. If you're going to spend time and money doing something then I think it makes sense to spend time figuring out if that something worked. If it didn't, then for your next book it's time to switch things up, think outside of the box. Just like you did when you wrote the book, it's important not to follow the crowd. If everyone is doing a blog tour, does it make sense for you to jump in and join the pack, a very full pack, or find a new way to sell yourself and your book?

Jessica

20 Comments on Is Your Promotion Making Sense, last added: 2/29/2012
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13. Making Twitter Personal

I'm no Twitter expert and have never claimed to be. That being said, I always have plenty of ideas about what works and doesn't work in social networking, primarily because I use it.

A lot of the people I follow on Twitter I follow because I'm a fan. Sure, I follow other industry experts and friends, but I also follow a lot of chefs (in my case). People I admire for their culinary skills. Some of my favorites are those I've gotten to "know" through various food competitions like Top Chef, Food Network or even their cookbooks or blogs. Not too long ago I was leaving Atlanta after a great conference with the Georgia Romance Writers. While waiting at the airport I Tweeted that I was leaving ATL and was bummed I didn't have the chance to visit Flip Burger and I included chef and owner Richard Blais (@RichardBlais) in my Tweet. Just a few short hours later @RichardBlais tweeted back "not as bummed as we are."

Okay, call me a fan geek, food geek, whatever, but I was on cloud 9 all day over this silly tweet. Over the fact that one of my chef heroes tweeted me back and actually seemed bummed that he wasn't able to see me. Does it matter how truly bummed he was? No. Not to a fan. When you admire and respect someone you're excited to be acknowledged by that person. And you should be. Life is too short not to get excited over the little things.

So here's my question to you writers. Are you giving your fans the little thrills that make their days, that give them reason to spend hours, heck days, talking about you? After my Tweet from Richard Blais (which by the way resulted in a number of people asking about this Flip Burger) I went to my personal Facebook to tell my friends and then I told everyone who would listen and now I'm telling all of you. That's buzz and that's the sort of thing that sells a product. It has nothing to do with the Tweets @RichardBlais himself has made, but everything about the "retweeting," so to speak. It's about the connection.

Jessica

19 Comments on Making Twitter Personal, last added: 3/28/2012
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14. Want Great Word-of-Mouth Advertising? Write a Great Book!

We hear so much lately about building a platform and social networking and “getting the word out” about our books. It’s true, and it’s important these days.

However, let’s not overlook one very critical factor. As one marketing guru said, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” Don’t let this happen to you!

I’ve read some good marketing books lately. I’ve tried–like all writers these days–to make the change from publisher advertising to the much more do-it-yourself marketing that is required.

The Cart and the Horse

But remember! Writing (plus studying and practicing to write even better) comes first. That’s your horse, and it is most important. Do NOT lose sight of that fact. Marketing is your cart. It won’t go far with a lame horse. [More about that in a moment.] But while you’re learning to write better, you can begin your own marketing if you want to. There are great resources to help you do that.

Helpful books on the new marketing?

Remember from our previous discussion that an introvert gets recharged in solitude and starts to feel drained after being around people too long. It has nothing to do with your social skills. Depending on which study you read, introverts comprise 40-55% of the population.

Put on the Brakes!

With all the concentration these days on building a platform and social networking, it’s easy to overlook one critical factor. It will make you or break you as a writer.

The first 25 pages of Hyatt’s book deals with this issue. It is about creating a compelling product. In our case, that means a book or story or play. As Hyatt says, “There is no sense in wasting your valuable time and resources trying to build a buzz about a ho-hum product…The purpose of marketing is to prime the pump. But if people don’t want to use your product and–more importantly–if they won’t recommend it to their friends, you’re hosed. You can’t spend enough money or be clever enough to overcome a lack of word-of-mouth marketing. It just won’t work.”

To get noticed in today’s over-crowded publishing

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15. Social Networking Burnout, OR How Much Marketing is Enough?

networkAccording to an article in Writer’s Digest three summers ago (“The Must-Have Online Marketing Plan” by M.J. Rose), “Ultimately, no matter what you do, careers are made on the book, not on the marketing.”

That’s very true. Just as true is this statement from the same article: “Someone–either you or your publisher–is going to have to get the word out about the book.”

More and more often, that “someone” is the author. That article was written three years ago…but the dilemma of “how much marketing is enough?” has still not been resolved.

Today’s Publishing Reality

More and more, today’s author is expected to do his part in the marketing. Marketing plans must be part of your query or proposal now–no matter how much you’ve been published.

It can include (but not be limited to) creating a website, writing a blog, making video trailers, doing blog tours, getting your book reviewed online, writing a newsletter…AND being active on Facebook and Pinterest and Goodreads.

Why Social Networking?

Until I heard several speakers at a leadership conference a few years ago, I’d avoided most social networking because of the time it took. I was very “hit and miss” with Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn until I discovered SocialOomph.com, which let me schedule posts and tweets for a week at a time.

According to those market gurus, a high percentage of people check Facebook accounts four times more often than their email. (I’m sure it’s much, much more often now.) Social networking appears to be the new way to connect with people–including your readers (now called your “tribe,” a term I heartily dislike.)

I have a private family Facebook account, although I have my doubts anymore about just how private anything is online. And I have a writer’s Facebook account and what they used to call a “fan page.” I finally set up my LinkedIn account, my Amazon author page, and Pinterest account. I tried Goodreads three times and got kicked off each time…more rejection to deal with! Ha ha.

The Times, They Are a-Changin’…Again!

We writers feel the pressure to learn and use all the marketing and networking opportunities, but is there no limit? How much time do YOU devote to marketing (daily or weekly)? How do you decide which sites to try, and which ones to leave until later?

If you have time, leave a comment below about your own social networking and marketing experiences. Which avenues have worked best for you? Which ones do you actually enjoy? How do you keep from using more time than you intended? (I literally missed a meal the first time I got on Pinterest! My eyes were nearly bloodshot when I logged off.)

What are the pluses and minuses you’ve encountered? Looking forward to your ideas!

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16. The Secret Ingredient to Creating Engaged Writers

I’ve been thinking about student engagement in writing workshop for the past couple of weeks.  I started thinking about it as I was reading Guy-Write, Ralph Fletcher’s new book.  My thoughts about engagement… Read More

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17. Interview with Lisa Becker, Author of Click

Lisa Becker is the author of Click: An Online Love Story.  She dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and discuss her book. 

Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Lisa Becker] About me: Mom, wife, writer, college professor, PR professional, Girl Scout troop leader, chauffeur, referee, cook, house cleaner…and exhausted!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Click?

[Lisa Becker] Click: An Online Love Story follows the dating (mis)adventures of Renee Greene, who is fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, without even a prospect or a house full of cats. She reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal retentive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the overly-sexed Shelley), as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical “B-list” celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC’s, FWD’s and inadvertent Reply to All’s, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Lisa Becker] My husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating.  I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged.  Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me.  In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” But, the happy ending is real.  Steve and I have been happily married for nine years and have two amazing daughters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Renee?

[Lisa Becker] Romantic, loyal and modest

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Renee had a theme song, what would it be?

[Lisa Becker] Renee’s theme song would be “Live is All-Around” by Paul Williams. Most people know it as the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Renee is a spirited, independent, capable young woman who is “Gonna make it after all” in both her professional and personal life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Lisa Becker] · Ms. Griffith, my high school English teacher, who encouraged me to write and share my work – for better or worse.

· Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210 and the subject of an interview I conducted for an alumni magazine article. He gave me some of the BEST advice I’ve ever received: "Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them."

· Matthew Beaumont, author of e, who inspired me with his narrative style, which I thought would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world.

· Herb & Sheila Willet, my amazing parents, who offered endless love and support in all of the choices I’ve made in my life. I only hope I can show my children the same level of respect as they mature and decide their courses in life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Lisa Becker] 1. Chocolate! No joke, I eat chocolate. If I’m stuck on a certain section or not feeling motivated to write, I give myself little chocolate incentives to get past the blockage. Judging by my thighs, I had some serious problems writing this book. ;)

2. The television on in the background. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS. I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served.

3. Inspiration. I need to have a story that I not only want to tell, but feel as though I can tell in a compelling and entertaining way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Lisa Becker] Several months ago, I read Michael Pollan’s nonfiction book, In Defense of Food, which examines the western diet and its effect on our health. His advice is simple: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That, coupled with a viewing of a documentary called Forks Over Knives, which examines how many degenerative diseases can be controlled or reversed with a whole food, plant based diet, changed my life. I’m now six months into being a vegetarian and have never felt better.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Lisa Becker] I remember always reading and having books around in my house. And, one of my favorite books as a child was Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie (Andrews) Edwards. I bought a copy several years ago for my nephew and he recently gave it back to me so I could give it to my daughters when they get older. It’s a wonderful, fanciful story and I still smile when I imagine the Whangdoodle who has a daisy on his sweet tooth.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Lisa Becker] When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. As mentioned, I’ve recently become a vegetarian, so I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting recipes. And I’ve recently taken up painting. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment around here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Lisa Becker] I have a Facebook page here set up for Click: An Online Love Story. And I’ve been asked numerous times when the sequel is coming out. I’m thrilled people are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more. With each positive review and reader comment, I get more and more motivated to continue writing. I’m wrapping up the sequel, Double Click that picks up six months later. I hope people will be excited to see where Renee and her friends are in their lives.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Click from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.  Available in both print and digital.

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18. Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse

Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse

What’s Your Marketing Integrity Philosophy


In one of my Linkedin groups, a member asked, “What does integrity mean to you?”

In our fasted paced, condensed internet world, where you really never know who you’re connecting with, integrity is an important issue.

Integrity to me means being honest and having 'high' moral standards in all aspects of life and business. It really boils down to the 'do unto others' biblical philosophy.

A commenter in the group mentioned that she doesn’t endorse people she doesn’t’ know, but wasn’t sure if this was appropriate, since others who don’t know her endorse her.

This issue just came up last week for me again. A new Linkedin connection who I don’t know messaged me that he recommended me in seven areas and asked if I would reciprocate in only two for him.

Two things went through my head: (1) it’s an awkward situation and (2) why would anyone recommend someone they don’t know.

I don't endorse people I don't know. To me it's unethical and would be doing my subscribers and connections a disservice if I did.

I, as nicely as I could, thanked him for the recommendations, but had to decline on the reciprocation. I explained why and he replied back that he understood.

This situation holds true for connecting with someone also. I always check the profile and related sites before accepting. Unfortunately, there are scammers and others out there who I prefer not being associated with, in part because of my values and in part as respect to those who I'm connected with.

I do this for all my social networks. I always check who I’m going to be connected with.

As a writer and book marketer, with connections and subscribers of your own, being considered honest and forthright are key relationship elements. If you want to create and build strong and long-lasting relationships, you need to take your ‘connections’ into account in all your online actions.

What’s your marketing integrity philosophy?

~~~~~
MORE ON BOOK MARKETING

Book Marketing – 9 Quick Tips for Being a Guest Blogger on Blogging Sites
Commenting on Blogs Still Works
What is an Author Platform and How Do You Create It?

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0 Comments on Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse as of 12/7/2012 6:31:00 AM
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19. Only the Righteous

So here's the story . . .

I receive a message through my LinkedIn account. Honestly, I'm not sure why I have a LinkedIn account. Occasionally I've looked for clients for nonfiction projects through LinkedIn, but rarely has anything ever come of it. Truthfully, the most success I've had in social networking comes through Twitter.

Anyway, a message came through LinkedIn from someone I've never met, I'm not even sure we're connected, asking for assistance in "partnering with a literary agent." This person was a fellow alum from Marquette University and proceeded to tell me about their book. The author ended by telling me there was a book proposal ready. My response, as is my response to all queries sent through social networks (if I respond at all), was that I don't accept queries through social networks, but the author should feel free to query following the guidelines on our website.

The author, apparently because we attended the same school, felt that she was exempt from following my guidelines and was apparently put off by my response, "I'm afraid I do not accept queries via social networking sites. To query me and BookEnds you should review the guidelines on our website."

Well, not that you're surprised, that set off a sh**storm. One that I can now honestly say amuses me and I'm sharing for your entertainment only. The author corrected me to explain how, after rereading the original message, there was nothing in it to indicate this was a query and that not only was my response disappointing, but indicated I have a "lack of belief in Marquette Ideals." What?! What?! Because I stick to a company policy I am now apparently morally corrupt?

And then after explaining that LinkedIn is a professional networking site and not Facebook and that I use it to solely seek to benefit from others the author said, "While I realize you cannot instill decency into people, it disturbs me to have Marquette's name to continue to be represented in such a poor manner."

And there you have it. I am nothing but a money-grubbing, self-absorbed, indecent human misusing my alma mater. Dang, I'm a jerk.


Jessica

39 Comments on Only the Righteous, last added: 8/26/2011
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20. a little housekeeping music

You'll remember I decided to delete the blog, and then I didn't. le sigh. I felt a little like Tom Sawyer, faking his funeral. I have such a  love/hate relationship with social networking. It's not you. It's me.I'm working on it.

To that end, I've made some changes. Tomorrow I get back into book 2 of the '60s trilogy, just in time for a family gathering over the weekend and all next week in Charleston. You'll remember we go to Charleston every September, in time for hurricane season. Maybe you'll do the photo challenge with me this year -- more to come about that.

So I'll catch you up with book two tomorrow. In the meantime, click through (if you're not there already) to the blog to see the new look! New title: Field Notes. New design. New sidebar material, including a list of current reading and listening, as well as books/music/dvds I'm using or have used for research -- I wanted to collect them in one place, so I created an amazon store so you could see them, too.

Full disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive a tiny portion of sales that click through from my blog or amazon store. I'm not looking for sales, though; I got most of these books from my local library, through inter-library loan, or from abebooks. (I *love* abebooks.) And I wanted to collect these resources in a readily available place and share them with you.

I was going to switch the blog to WordPress -- my Web Goddess Allison had me all set up. But I've decided to stay here on blogger for now. It's easier for me and I like the openness of the look for now -- what do you think? At some point I want to integrate the old 2007 tour blog with this one. When I started a new blog, I didn't understand I didn't have to. Live and learn.

If you visit my website (which is a WordPress site) you'll also see it's had a little refresh, too. I do like it, although at times, when I think about it too much, it also feels too loud to me, compared to the very understated look I had before. What do you think? I really want to know. Again.

We're just back from Hayesville, N.C. where Jim played a gig with some musician friends over the weekend. Great good fun. I have no brain cells left with which to be scintillating or even make sense. So here ya go. Some housekeeping, and some photos and (always) a little music when one can't think straight. Thanks, y'all. More anon!

1 Comments on a little housekeeping music, last added: 8/29/2011
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21. The Extreme Power of Social Networking & Digital Publishing

Bringing Great Authors To the Literary Realm

Guest Author: Amy Lignor

In 2007, as we all know, Amazon came out and launched an ‘e-reader.’ Many thought this was a joke, but I can honestly say that there is no one laughing now.

Digital publishing and branding have become the ultimate ways to get ahead, or even recognized, in the cutthroat recession-wary publishing world as it stands today. Publishers are looking at the bottom line. Are they poor? Are publishing houses becoming dinosaurs? No. Make no mistake, people, not matter what the agencies and publishers tell you total book sales in the United States last year came in at 13.9 billion dollars. Random House, the top rung of the so-called “Big Six Publishers” reported profits of 2.5 billion. However, a large percentage of revenue is now being recorded as digital downloads. And this area is growing bigger every year.

There will always be those out in the world who want that paper copy – that copy that they can hold in their hands. In fact, this writer feels about books as deeply as a hockey player feels about the ‘smell of the ice.’ I love the smell of a new book, and e-readers take that particular enjoyment away. BUT, there are a great deal of authors out there right now who are truly magnificent, yet they are not getting the opportunities to be published. There are barely any agents or publishers out there right now that would’ve told you twenty years ago that YA would ever be a big market. What they didn’t see coming was J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, and the like who took the world by storm. One of the most ironic issues about new authors who do hit the market full force, is that most of them were taken on by interns or new hires in literary agency; people who just stepped in and felt as if they had to prove themselves to their bosses. Why is that? Because those new interns still knew what it felt like to read a good book. They were, and are, not yet caught up in the muck and mire of the bottom line. They take a chance and they score – simple as that.

In mid-2010, Amazon announced that they were selling MORE e-books than hardcover’s, which caused a division in the literary society. The division and arguments still abound about the digital world becoming ‘King’ one day, but whether or not anyone likes it, the internet IS the ‘King’ of the 21st Century. Many young adults (and some adults, I have to say) are learning their grammar and penmanship through text messaging – “How are you?” has now become “How r u?” Everyone is on the go, and their e-readers, Kindles, etc. make life a whole lot easier than having to trudge to the library, or spend a greater amount of money in the bookstore. Readers can simply call up Amazon, call up the book they want, and ‘boom,’ there it is on the device that they have grown to love as much as their cell phones.

One of the biggest moments for digital publishing, in my mind, was when the New York Times suddenly realized this growing phenomenon and – whether they liked it or not, and most did not – they began a digital bestseller list; an e-book ‘Top Ten.’ Not only that, although the New York Times Book Review is still a monolith in the publishing world, they are quickly being set aside for the ultimate re

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22. In which I control my addiction - Nicola Morgan

I am probably the last person you expected to say what I'm going to say: the internet has all got too much and I am going to take control. It's become like one of those eat-all-you-can buffets and it's making me feel somewhat sick.

After I spoke about "building your online platform" at the Society of Authors conference, people said they were terrified by my apparent energy. How did I find the time? Vanessa Gebbie asked on my blog for advice about how to use the internet without wasting time. Blithely, I replied, a) define wasting time b) when it feels too much, stop - don't let it take over. Discipline, my child!

Well, I was OK at that point. After all, I only had a few blogs and three FB pages and Twitter and a new website in progress and three existing websites and Audioboo. And this collaborative blog. And the Authors Electric blog, which I'd just joined as a newbie ebook publisher. (And immediately volunteered to manage their Twitter account...)

But then, my behaviour tipped over some kind of precipice: I investigated (purely for research, you understand) LinkedIn, where I found groups and threads and discussions, and where I spent a lot of time deleting randomly-generated emails. And Google+, which everyone said was "better" than Facebook, and where I found circles and groups and threads and discussions and hangouts to hang out in with people I already knew from Twitter and Facebook. Then (purely for research, you understand), I thought I should join the Kindle Boards (because I am interested in ebook publishing) and the Kindle UK forum (ditto and because it exists) and the Absolute Write Water Cooler (ditto and ditto and because people asked me to) and in all of those places I found forums and groups and threads and discussions and spent a great deal of time in a great many similar conversations.

And in those places, I kept seeing the same people. Often lovely people. "Fancy meeting you here!" I was often tempted to ask, "Do you come here often?" So I was communicating with existing friends in umpteen places. They were everywhere, all at the same time, and so was I.

As well as that, within 24 hours of arriving on one particular site, I had THREE private messages warning me to be careful what I said because the conversation could sometimes be vicious. The word "vicious" was actually used in each case. Why would anyone want to hang out anywhere where people were going to be vicious? I didn't see any viciousness but I know people who have experienced it. And I don't want to.

After a couple of weeks of all this gorging on the buffet, and working longer and longer hours to get any actual work done, it all became too much and I thought, "Blimey, this is the definition of wasting time." And I reminded myself of what I'd told Vanessa Gebbie: Discipline, my child!

Also, I was getting more and more frustrated with Facebook - I seemed to be force-fed information and photos and quiz results and Farmville pink rabbits from people I literally didn't know. At. All. I am sure many of them were lovely people, but I didn't know them and they didn't know me and there are actually only so many hours in the day.

So I began slipping away from some of the afore-mentioned places, without wanting to offend the perfectly decent and sensible people there. Today, I began to try to untie the strings of Facebook. And what long FB conversations that caused! Facebook has this horrible word, "Unfriending". In order only to interact with people you actually know, you have to unfriend the others. It's horrible. You have to do it one name at a time and a little - well, OK: big - message comes up asking if you're really sure you want to unfriend so-and-so. Meh.

17 Comments on In which I control my addiction - Nicola Morgan, last added: 10/3/2011
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23. Ten Rules for Twitter Success

There are a lot of amazing rules for Twitter success out there, they are easy to find, and in fact this post was inspired by a blog post by Novel Publicity.

However, since many of you read book blogs to help grow your career, I thought it would be valuable to include some tips of my own and hopefully encourage you, those of you hoping to use Twitter as part of your marketing plan, to do some other reading on the subject before diving in.

When I first started on Twitter I had no idea what I was getting into and, honestly, it took me a long time to get comfortable there and decide if it was for me. Now I love Twitter. I've connected with old friends, a ton of colleagues, and authors. I've signed authors because of Twitter exchanges, and introduced others to great books written by my clients. I've hosted give-aways and #askagent sessions in which I answer any questions writers might have about publishing. Twitter has also become my go-to source for news in publishing or otherwise. I've learned a lot from Twitter and you can too. You can also use it to market yourself and your book, but only if you use Twitter right.

These are rules based on my own frustrations with Twitter and those I follow or have unfollowed.

1. Include a bio. You have roughly 140 characters to create a bio for yourself. Use them. I can't follow someone by a name only. If I learn, however, that you're on Twitter because you're writing something specific, published in something specific, a blogger, an expert, or whatever, I might be inclined to test you out. And make your bio interesting and a little personal.

2. Personalize your photo. This is important. If I see a tweet from someone with no photo (or the "Twitter" egg photo), I immediately assume it's spam. When you sign up, include a photo. A lot of authors include the covers of their books. I get it, you're trying for maximum attention for your books. I don't like this though. I like some sort of photo or avatar because then, over time, I feel like I get to know the author and recognize the author whenever a tweet pops up, without the ever-changing cover. Don't be afraid to be creative either. If you don't want a photo of you, find an avatar that represents you.

3. Engage in conversation. You don't need to respond to everyone who responds to you. In fact, you shouldn't, but occasionally you should engage in the conversation you've started with your tweets. Or even connect with those you follow. I've found links on Twitter that I've tweeted to those I follow, but don't know personally, because it connected with something they had tweeted about.

4. Make your links make sense. I won't click on a link that's too vague. If your tweet is something along the lines of "Delicious Food [link here]" I probably won't click the link. If, however, you say something like, "Just made these amazing GF strawberry cupcakes [link here]" I will probably click the link. Like all of you, I don't have time to click random links just because someone suggested it. If I know the link is of particular interest to me I might click it, and if it looks amazing I will probably share it.

5. Be real. The best tweeters are those who allow themselves to be themselves. Sure, it's your professional face so you might not tweet every moment (and you shouldn't), but you are also going to let your passions come through. For example, in addition to a lot of tweeting about agenting and publishing, I share food passions on Twitter, as well as the occasional dog photo.

6. Be interesting. Too many people use Twitter as a regular way to post their morning blog link or to only tell about the release of their book. Boring and far too consistent. Sure, you can post those things, but you need something in between that's a little different and more interesting. For example, are you testing

19 Comments on Ten Rules for Twitter Success, last added: 10/7/2011
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24. Tech Workshop — Cool Things Before the Presentation

My friend June Yazel and I are putting together a workshop called: Tackling Technology in a Writer’s World. We are planning two different versions, one for elementary teachers and another for content area secondary teachers. Although similar, the secondary version will focus more on research and informational writing while the elementary version will focus more [...]

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25. a little light housekeeping

Quick fyi notes:

:: It has been pointed out to me (such a passive voice!) that email is a difficult carrier for this blog when I post so many photos, as I did earlier today. I'm going to truncate the email feed from now on so I don't crash your computers when I send you a blog post that's a large file.

:: I believe this setting will also truncate the post in your google reader, although I'm not sure. I'm not even sure I'm using the word "truncate" correctly here. Let's see how it works.

:: In order to see the entire post (either in email or a reader), just click on the post title within your email or reader, and it will take you to the blog on the web, where you can read the entire post. The good news here is that you can also see what I'm up to on the blog.

:: I've started posting my current reading and research in the sidebar, so you can read along with me, or share my research finds and notes if you are also writing about the sixties (and other topics); or, if you are teaching Countdown, you can refer to the books listed on that page. See the sidebar links to guide you. 

:: I've continued to redesign, following my decision to end the blog and then not. Ahem. At any rate, how do you like the new banner? It will change from time to time, and the rethinking and redesign will go on. Me and social networking. Not a match made in heaven. But I do love the storytelling. Of course. And always.

:: Chicken and potatoes and asparagus for supper. I'm off to it!

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