Thinking Thursday… Getting Established

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
  2. Blog
  3. FaceBook
  4. Twitter     or
  5. Pinterest
  6. YouTube
  7. Skype

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.

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!

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Tuesday Tip: Paying It Forward


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.


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!

Let me know what you think about my crazy 7 things.
What other blogs do you find valuable?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Marketing Monday – Have a Website

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

~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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

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~ HAPPY NEW YEAR ~ from Tracey M. Cox

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~Happy New Year~

Welcome to 2015!

I know many of you are focusing on your New Year’s Resolutions, and I do have a few of my own, but today I like to reflect back on the past year and see where I have grown and what I have accomplished.

  • Platform Building
    My goal for 2014 was to establish myself on the internet and become comfortable with what I stand for. Pre-2014 when you did a search on “Tracey M. Cox” you would find a different author. Now I have at least 2 pages full of articles, videos, social media contact, etc where you can find me. My platform? How to market with little to no money is still in its infancy, but I know the direction it is heading in and I feel confident in where it is going.
  • Better Content
    I’ve done research and feel my output is so much better this year. I hope others learn from me and can pass it forward too. Better content also builds on platform. I hope to be known as a trusted source and someone who loves to bounce ideas off with.
  • Marketing
    THIS was a biggie for me. I’ve learned to toot my own horn. Carry business cards and books with me. Not to be shy about telling others I write AND love it!  🙂  I also am learning the fine line of marketing and being pushy. Nobody wants to be battered over the head and I don’t want to be the person you see and want to run from.  😉
  • Writing
    My writing has improved so much this year. Researching again and again. Critique groups!!!!!!!!! Taking classes. All this, and an open mind, has contributed to my writing this year.
  • Friendships
    I’ve lost some this year. Some by death, others by their choice. I don’t know which is harder. Still, you have to learn to let go.
    I’ve gained some this year. There are some wonderful people I can’t wait to get to know better.
    Then there are the ones who have remained a constant in my life. I’m thankful for all they have given me. I only hope they feel the same about me.

So what is up with this year?

I’ll be keeping up with the same schedule:
Monday – Marketing
Tuesday – Tips
Wednesday – www.
Thursday – Thinking
Friday – Features (when I have some volunteers)
So two to three posts a week.  🙂  I plan on going into better depth and expanding my knowledge on marketing and kidlit. I hope to have a few surprises this year too. *fingers crossed*

What I hope to accomplish past this blog?

  • Learn to use social media more effectively.
  • Get an agent
  • Book contract
  • Work on writing
  • Work on illustrating
  • Books Love & Taters Book Festival (4th annual) to be bigger and better this year

I hope to see you into the year too!

Let me know what you would love to achieve this year.
What are some things you accomplished in 2014?
How do you plan to build on last year?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Tuesday Tips… Christmas for Writers


Christmas for Writers

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! And Chanukah. And Kuwanzaa. And whatever you may celebrate. So while you are out there finishing up those last minute ideas… Don’t forget the writers on your list.  😉

I have a Pinterest board where I’ve pinned WRITERS’ WISH LIST in case you need some great ideas. I’m always on the look out to add to it too.  I’m not the only one that does this either. Tara Lazar has one too. Check out her blog post: GIFTS FOR WRITERS to see what all she has too.

Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season that is filled with warmth and gladness.

Until next time…

Happy Writing,

Don’t Forget…

I have decided to take the last two weeks off this year. I want to take some time for myself, focus on family, and the true meaning of the season. My last bloggy post will be this Thursday, December 18th.  🙂


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PiBoIdMo Day 7-9… by Tracey M. Cox




Hiccups In the Road

What happens when you get thrown off track? When the wind is taken out of your sails? When the world doesn’t make sense?

You take a pause. You gather your loved ones close. You try to make sense of this crazy world.

Last Friday, I found out one of my best friends died. Unexpectedly. Just poof. He’s gone. His wife and children are devastated, his friends are devasted, and the world kept turning. I stopped writing, trying to come up with ideas. Honestly, I hadn’t read a post since then. I’ve spent this weekend regrouping. Taking time with my family. Letting my mind come back to normal.

But this morning I woke up itching to get back into PiBoIdMo. I dropped Son#3 off at school and came back home to work a little.

I’m sharing this with you to let you know that even with 30 Ideas looming, things happen… good and bad. If you need to take a break? TAKE IT! Don’t feel guilty. You’re a writer… you’ll write.

Now I’m playing catch up. 🙂 That’s okay. I have two days to work on, plus today’s post. So this is what I’ve gotten out of it so far…

Day 7
Idea Generator


Don’t be afraid to be silly. Cut a piece of paper into small strips. Write a word on each piece. Use different categories like… People, places, things, holidays, and actions. Put them in a jar or a hat, mix them up, and pull two or three slips out. Wacky ideas? Who cares! Some of the best books are totally off the wall. Need an example: Green Eggs & Ham! I mean really? Wow!


Day 8

DangerGeneral.svg.medWhat will get us all? Distractions! Facebook, family, squirrels… And nope, I had not read this post until today! *see above note* Sometimes distractions are a good thing. They will take our mind off of NOT writing a ding-dang thing, but they can be distracting us from doing our work too. Sometimes we can wire our brain and get into a routine to prepare the juices to begin flowing. So get off of Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, pay no attention to the huge squirrel looking for the pecans that you need to pick up, and write!

Day 9
Question Everything


What can the future hold? A lot when you are four! Ask one and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless. Can’t climb a tree? Use spring shoes. Can’t fly? Grow wings or strap on a jet pack. Can’t never could. It does a writer wonders to think like the age group you are writing for. I guess that’s why I love writing picture books. It is an age of innocence, of learning, of exploring, of thinking anything is possible.


So how are you doing? I’ve got 6 ideas!!! Yay.

Let me know how you are doing?
What observations have you made about your writing?
I’d love to know what you think.

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Read!!!Celebrate Picture Books!!!

It’s November and that means it’s Picture Book Month


And it’s Picture Book Ideas Month…



Can you hear me cheering?????? */*  */*  */*

Take time to read a great picture book every day. If you are a writer or illustrator, click on the PiBoIdMo banner above and join Tara Lazar’s month long idea generating adventure. Today is the first day and sign-ups go through this week. So it’s not too late to join.

I’ll be journaling about PiBoIdMo this month and would love to see a few others join me in the adventure.

Let me know what you are going to do to celebrate picture books.

Happy Writing!

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