Thinking Thursday… Getting Established

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Getting Established

Getting established (or re-established) can feel overwhelming. There are so many things we need to do or can do.

  1. Website
  2. Blog
  3. Social Media
  4. Word of Mouth

First thing first though!

Google yourself to see what (or who) is out there.  Check out websites, social media outlets, and blogs to see what is available. You want to become consistent with your name throughout your visual presence if possible. I was very fortunate, I have:

  1. Website
    www.traceymcox.com
  2. Blog
    www.traceymcox.wordpress.com
  3. FaceBook
    (personal) www.facebook.com/traceymcox.1
    (prefessional) www.facebook.com/traceymcox.author
  4. Twitter
    www.twitter.com/traceymcox     or
    @traceymcox
  5. Pinterest
    www.pinterest.com/traceymcox
  6. YouTube
    www.youtube.com/user/traceymcox
  7. Skype
    traceymcox.author

Just to name a few.  As you can see, I was able to keep my name “Tracey M. Cox” in the search.

What if my name isn’t available?

You can do a variation. [Your Name] writes or [Your Name] author/illustrator. Or do the reverse. Maybe you have a pen name or a quirky name you want people to remember you by. Use that.

Be Consistent! Be, Be Consistent!

Not everyone will be coming from your website. You do have all your links on your website, right? Some people will be searching for you from a search engine. Some can be coming from another link, perhaps from someone else’s blog or website. You want them to recognize you!

Not only should you have your listing match, try matching or similar pictures too. This will help visual recognition! I’m more visual than anything. I can remember a face. Names??? Can be sketchy.   😉   That doesn’t mean you can’t change your pictures. Just remember to do it with all of them. Or have a few grouped together and a few others grouped together. You want people to know it is you when they are searching.

Putting your best foot forward

Your website is your face on the internet. You want to be presentable and allow people to get to know you.

Blogging is a great sound board. It allows you to talk about what you are passionate about, what you stand for, what you want in life. It is a great building block of your platform and branding. Remember to bring your message forward. We all have bad days and you can sound off about it too… just try to do it in a constructive way. Remember people will be reading your posts. Hopefully, some will be agents and/or editors that you will want to present a good image to.

Social Media is a handful! (Zoinks! There goes that constructive whining!!!   😉   ) It can be time consuming and overwhelming. I took it a little at a time. I researched each outlet and gave it a whole-hearted try for at least a week solid before I decided on it. Do I like them all??? NO! Do I use them all? NO! There are a few I’m on, barely. There are some I’m learning to like too. Then there are the ones I wish would be better, because I really like using them.

Word of Mouth is probably one of the best! Really. I think it is, because that means someone else thinks enough about you to pass your name on. To me, it’s one of the best compliments one person can give another. “Oh, so-and-so is really good at (blah). You should check them out!” Or there is “Such-and-such has a new book out called (TITLE). Go read it!” When you say good things about people, they notice.   🙂
While on Social Media, I try to keep it a 1:5 ratio, if not more. Which means for every one promotional post, I will post at least five other posts about somebody else or something else.

Be Friendly

One thing I will say is this…

Don’t constantly talk about yourself!

Talk about others… in a good way!!! Lift each other up. Promote someone who does something really well. Reciprocity RoCkS!

So get out there and let people know you, know what you are about, and who else you like.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think about this post.
What are some of the steps you’ve taken to get establish?
What are some ways you would like to learn about?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Tuesday Tip: Paying It Forward

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Paying it forward

Sometimes you never know when you have helped people. Sometimes you do. Being recognized isn’t the reason why I have been posting though. I have learned things… sometimes (more than most) the hard way. When I was starting out, I had a few people who were gracious to me. They answered questions and gave me some helpful hints. One author wrote to me to say thank you for my kind words about her. *fan girl scream*

Last week I was pleasantly surprised by Keila Dawson. She nominated me for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD.

THANKS YOU LOTS AND LOTS AND WHOLE BUNCHES, KEILA!

I think you rock too!

I nominate the following bloggers, because I find them paying it forward and just want to say, “You guys RAWK!” Thank you for the time and dedication you put into the KidLit Community! Take a moment to visit their blogs and you will definitely find useful information and inspiration.

  1. Julie Hedlund (12×12 Founder)
  2. Susanna Leonard Hill (PPBF & Making PB Magic)
  3. Tara Lazar (PiBoIdMo Founder)
  4. Carrie Charley Brown (ReFoReMo Founder)
  5. Beth Stillmore (Writer and Champion of Writers)
  6. Kathryn Howes (#RaisingReaders, Writer)

Now, I’m suppose to share…

7 things people might not know about me: 

  1. I was a cheerleader in elementary school and can still do a split.
  2. I know how to snowboard and rollerskate.
  3. My eyes are so brown, they are almost black.
  4. When I was little, I wanted to be a Roller Derby Queen when I grew up. Or a mime. HA!
  5. I can play the keyboard and use to be in a band.
  6. My favorite class in elementary school was Performing Arts. I love to draw, paint, create puppets, perform, etc!
  7. I know how to yodel.

 

Pay it forward! Here are the rules for accepting this award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

Well done fellow bloggers! Pass it on!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think about my crazy 7 things.
What other blogs do you find valuable?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
** Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
*** Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

www. The Purple Crayon

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Harold Underdown’s: The Purple Crayon

Today’s www. Wednesday, I’m highlighting Harold Underdown’s website: The Purple Crayon.

This website has been around for a while and is chock full of information.

How long? you may ask.
It was the first informative website I ran across when I started writing in 2000.  <insert nodding head here> A long time ago.

It’s grown a lot over the years. Of course, the writing world has too. The changes I’ve seen are incredible.

What information can you find there?

  • Who’s Moving Where? – Great inside moving knowledge of the industry. Agents and editors tend to change. Harold helps keep you up to date.
  • Articles – It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or an expert. He is always updating material that you can find useful
  • Editorial Services – Did you know that Harold is a former editor as several well-known publishing houses? He offers critique services and workshops.
  • Information on his book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books”.
    idiots_guide_to_publishing_childrens_books

So click on over to Harold Underdown’s: The Purple Crayon and be ready to have some extra time on your hands.

About HAROLD UNDERDOWN:

Harold UnderdownI have been a children’s book editor for over 20 years. For the first half of that, I worked in-house at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge. More recently I have been working independently–working with authors and publishers, speaking at conferences, and giving workshops. I also run The Purple Crayon, an informational website, at http://www.underdown.org/, and am a contributing editor to Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books grew out of my experiences as an editor. I have posted information and sample chapters on my website at my Idiot’s Guide page.
(used from: Harold Underdown’s Goodreads bio)

 

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think of today’s   www. Wednesday.
Do you know of another resourceful website? I would love to highlight here on my blog.

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
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tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.

Marketing Monday – Have a Website

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Why You Should  Have a Website

In my video, 12 Marketing Tips to Marketing Yourself with Little to No Money, my #1 tip is to have a website.

It doesn’t matter if you are pre-published or published. If you are in an industry where you are submitting your work,as we are, people will look you up. You want to be visible and have a good presence. Trust me, chances are you are not the only one with your name.

Here’s a little test:

  • Click here to go to GOOGLE
  • Type in your name
  • Hit enter
  • See what is on the first few pages

Were you there?    Did you see others?

When I did this (after I had a few magazine articles under my belt), I was shocked and began blushing on who was pulled up.  SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t me. Or a the little green men. Let’s just say, it wasn’t my genre. I wanted people to know me for what I do, not for what someone with the same name does.

“But I’m not published yet…”
I wasn’t either when I started my own website. And you should too, if you haven’t already. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. In fact, most people get aggravated by the bells and whistles. You have to think of the ones who, like me, live in the boonies and don’t have the best internet connection. It can be slow, people.

You can have as little as one to two pages to start with. Something simple.

“I’m published!!!…”
All the more reason to have a website. You can begin to expand with a ‘books’ or ‘credits’ page. You can be published in a newspaper or magazine and give links back to them. When you have books out, give each of them their own page. Include book trailers, awards, and reviews on their individual pages.

What Should A Website Contain

  • Picture of you
  • Description of you
  • Credits you have pertaining to your field
  • Video
  • Supporting material
  • Extra

Picture:
~Have a good headshot. It doesn’t have to be done professionally. The one on this blog of me is a selfie. Yep, I took it and added a little bit of editing.   😉   The one on my website that I use for flyers, my son took when he was 13.   😉   I paid him in gum.  Yes, I paid BIG BUCKS!!!! Hahahahahahhaa!
~SMILE in your photo.  Seriously, don’t be a sourpuss.
~Good lighting always helps… editing does too.

Description:
Use your own judgement and go with what you are comfortable with. If you look over my ‘about me’, you’ll see I have the month I was born in and where. You’ll also read that my papa would tell me stories and started my love of learning.
This is where people will get to ‘know’ you. What do you want to be known for. What are your dreams? Are you involved in anything associated with your field?

Credits:
Don’t sweat this one too much. Do you have a newsletter you publish? Do you contribute to a well-known newsletter or podcast or (something)? Newspaper articles? Magazines? Volunteer reading or teaching art at a local school? All these can build you as a credible person.
You should include any organization you are involved in that is helping you further your field. This can include: SCBWI, 12×12, etc. You should also include any formal classes you have taken. This can include a number of professional artist or classes from the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL).
Give your BOOKS a shout out when they come out. I have a ‘books’ page and from there you can go to the individual pages.

Video:
Welcome people to your website. Invite them to read about you and explore your other page(s), read your blog, etc. Tell them you are a writer/illustrator and how excited you are to be pursuing your dreams.
By having a video you use sight and sound to make a connection. Again, SMILE while you are taking your video, make it genuine. Let your personality come through.

Supporting Material:
This could go with extra depending on your experience.
You can include links to your favorite websites.
You can have links to material that support your books too, such as teacher guides, and coloring and activity pages.

This is only a suggestion and not a ‘you have to do this’ format. As you gain experience, your website can expand.

Where Can I Have A Website?
There are tons of places you can begin a website.
FREE- WordPress is an option. You don’t have to have a blog to do this. Although, you can tie the two together nicely here. I use them for my blog.    🙂
FREE- Wix & Weebly are a couple of other ones off the top of my head too.
FEE- Yahoo is what I use. I’ve been there for over 10 years and have never had a problem with my website. There is a fee for being at yahoo though.
FEE- Any server will have website service, with varying amounts.

 

Just Remember…   This is you we are talking about. Build your website to suit you, your needs, and your message. By doing this, you will begin to have a foundation to market yourself and the products you produce.

I hope this helps you see how important having a website is.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think about having a website.
How important is it to you?
Are there things you include that I don’t? WHY?
I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Newsletter sign-up page.

Thinking Thursday… GET ORGANIZED!

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Get Organized!

As a writer I know a lot of our desks look like the one above.   😉   😉   You have bits of paper here. An outline over on that corner. There is a jar of pencils and your favorite pen. A picture or quote of inspiration over there. It’s what I call organized chaos.

We do need SOME sort of organization though. We have to keep a thought process going to get from Point A to Point B without creating any detours along the way. Plus we usually have more than one thing going. A planner, journal, or to-do list can help keep you on track.

A lot of people have been using Bullet Journaling. I wasn’t sure what it was until Kate Messner blogged about it last week. Upon reading, I realized I already did something similar.   🙂   Maybe Bullet Journaling isn’t for you. Or you like something a little bit different? I thought I would share my version I’ve been doing for over six months now.

I call it Calendaring… for lack of a better term. The reason why I started was because of Summer Sparks Writing Challenge. I had a lot going on:

  • regular blog post
  • researching for additional regular blog posts
  • scheduling guest bloggers
  • getting guest bloggers post
  • formatting (regular & guest) blog posts
  • making sure I had them scheduled correctly
  • setting up and running contests through rafflecopter

And that was only for my blog. It was a lot (for me at least 😉 ) and I needed a way to make sure I kept everything straight. So I opened up a new file and created a simple calendar format in excel:

BulletJournaling.01

Next, I made a separate file for the individual months:

BulletJournaling.02

 

Then I clicked into the correct month and started planning. As you can see, I have the days of the week as well as a “TO DO” column. For my TO DO column, I like to sit down on Sunday and plan my week.

BulletJournaling.03

Then whenever a task is completed, I highlight it in green!  🙂  I like to see a lot of green!!! By using excel, it’s really easy to fill in the background color with a few clicks.

BulletJournaling.04

This has been my lifesaver!!!

The first thing I do when I sit down at my laptop is open up my calendar. I look over what I need to do that day and I’ll look over my TO DO column to see if I can work on it or complete something.

I’m going to include my 2015 months downloads for you to use. Feel free to save on your computer or print it out. If you choose to print this out, one month will take up two pages. I did this to give me enough space to write things.

01-January2015
02-February2015
03-March2015
04-April2015
05-May2015
06-June2015
07-July2015
08-August2015
09-September2015
10-October2015
11-November2015
12-December2015

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think of my organizational process.
What do you do to keep things organized?
Are there other techniques you’ve heard of?
I’m always open to trying new things. You never know what may click with you!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Tuesday Tips – Idea Jar

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~ Catching Ideas ~

*sparks*                                                 *flash*                                                           *spark*
*jolt*                                            *bang*
*flash*                           *spark*                                                         GOTCHA!

Have you ever felt like that? There’s a tickle of an idea… yet it fades out before you can fully mull it over and grasp it.
I think we all do this from time to time.

I like to think of ideas as fireflys.  Zooming around, every now and then a flash, and then gone.  When I was little, I loved catching them in a jar. I would get on their level, watching them up close, before letting them go again. There was still the mystery of them, but I had enough to hold onto… until the next time.

I like to think of us writers and our ideas like that too. We get that spark, flash, jolt, bang, and we are off. We are on a chase, trying to capture it. When we do, we pull it close, inspect it, and give our observations. Then we release our ideas into the world as manuscripts. In hopes that an editor will see the  mysteriousness of our story and want to capture it too.

Now… to keep those ideas fresh in our minds. We don’t want that spark to fade. Or the flash to dim too quickly. What can we do??? I have a video where I show you what I do:

I hope that helps give you some inspiration on keeping your ideas fresh.   🙂

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think of my Ideas Jar.
How do you capture your ideas and keep them fresh?
If you choose to make (or already have) an IDEAS JAR, I would {{{L-O-V-E}}} to see it!!! Blog about it or post it on social media and tag me in it!

Here’s to many captured ideas!!!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Feature Friday: ReviMo with Meg Miller

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I WILL REVISE!

Here we are… A NEW YEAR!

Do you have a manuscript or a couple or a few or several manuscripts that need some serious revising?
But that feels like work?
You rather play with the shiny NEW idea?

Pish! Posh! Roll up your sleeves and lets let some red ink fly!

I’m challenging you! Yes, YOU! to submit this year. B-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-t you have to get those crappy first drafts into shape! What better way than to participate in a writing challenge?

ENTER:

Meg Miller

Hi, Meg!
Thanks for stopping by ‘a writers blog by Tracey M. Cox’ and sharing your writing challenge! Here are some Q&A Meg and I had the other day and I wanted to share:

Q1: Name of writing challenge?
A: ReviMo 2015

Q2: Do you have a website?
A: http://www.megmillerwrites.blogspot.com/p/revimo-2015.html

Q3: Date of sign-ups?
A: Last day to sign up 1/11/2015 at 10 pm cst

Q4: Date writing challenge runs?
A: January 11-17, 2015

Q5: Why did you come up with this challenge?
A: In 2013, I had just completed Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee; I was gearing up to do to Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo; and I’d been writing a rough draft monthly for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. I thought, I need to revise all these (crappy, oh so crappy) stories, *Lightbulb* there should be a revision challenge!! So… after coming up with a name for it, inspired by the other great challenges, I set to planning. And in January 2014, I hosted the first ReviMo with help from inspiring guest bloggers and generous sponsors. There have also been many Pre-ReviMo and Petite ReviMo with great posts from writers.
I had a thought at one point that surely there was no new way to talk about revising, but every time I receive someone’s post I am amazed at how our unique perspectives bring a new and fresh take on revising! Which gives me hope for writing, there are new picture book ideas, you just need a fresh perspective!

Q6: What do you hope people will gain from this challenge?
A: I get writer’s block occasionally and I know it’s because I start taking myself and (add stuffy accent here) *my writing* WAY too seriously. I’d like ReviMo to inspire people to play with revisions. This quote from Anne Lamott captures the thought perfectly: “So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes. Use up lots of paper. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.”

Q7: What else would you like to include?
A: Check out our wonderful guest bloggers for ReviMo 2015:
http://megmillerwrites.blogspot.com/p/revimo-2015-guest-bloggers.html
And not only that, but our lovely sponsors have donated some fabulous prizes: http://megmillerwrites.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_7.html
AND (can this get any better??) if you are a ReviMo participant you are eligible for these special offers: http://megmillerwrites.blogspot.com/p/revimo-2015-special-offers.html

 

Thanks Meg!!!
How awesome is that! Not only do you get some of your work closer to submission-ready material, you also have a chance at some amazing prizes. I have already signed up!

Click on the logo above or ~ HERE ~ to sign up for Meg’s ReviMo challenge. You have 2 more days to get in!!!!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think of writing challenges.
Are you going to participate in ReviMo?
What are some challenges you are going to participate in this year?
Are there some you would like to see highlighted here?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

*     Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
**   Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
*** Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other tidbits related to the kidlit
industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my Newsletter sign-up page.