Writing – Just Do It! by: #TMCProductions

BLOG POSTS

Writing – Just Do It!

I think every published author has heard the question:

How do you write a book?

I think my favorite quote is:

Image result for open a vein and bleed writing quotes

Honestly, sometimes it feels like this. It can exhaust you. You pour your heart and soul into each letter, each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each story. When you hold a book, you are literally holding onto someone’s dream.

Writing is an amazing thing.

So… How does one write?

Quite simply, BIC.

Butt
In
Chair

Sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. First drafts are called sloppy copies in school for a reason! *laughing* The main thing is to get your idea down onto paper or the computer screen. Breathe life into the sparks of your thoughts. Watch as the oxygen gives energy and becomes more vivid. Before you know it, you will have your story, or at least the gist of it, down.

Take a break.

Take a deep breath.

Take a good look at your manuscript.

Be proud. You have accomplished something magical. Something extraordinary.

Then roll up your sleeves and get ready to do the HARD work. Yes, I wrote “HARD”. “But that WAS hard,” you say? I know. I struggle even after writing professionally for over 18 years! BUT getting that first draft ready for publication… that’s where you add pressure to every word, every scene. You squeeze. You shift your visions. You hold onto the parts that matter and move the story forward. You learn to toss the parts that stall your story.

Continue moving forward. Constantly! Before you know it, you will have a story that sparkles like a diamond.

Keep checking in on Wednesdays, as I will be sharing writing tips and tricks I have learned over the years. Somethings I had to learn the hard way and some things I was lucky enough to have someone else pass onto me.

 

Leave me a comment:

 

Where are you in your writing career?
Do you have a hard time with ideas?
What is your downfall?

Until next time…
Happy Writing!

~t


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Marketing 101 by: #TMCProductions

BLOG POSTS

MARKETING 101

Class is in session!

I am in the process of creating an intensive course for how to market. In the process, I will be sharing tidbits to help those of you along your journey to be able to market yourself and your products (business) better.

Do you need to market?

Well, do you own your own business? If you answer yes, then you do! Even if you have big businesses backing you or your products, the marketing that is done in your favor has gone down in recent years.

What do you need to do?

How to get started?

Have you looked around the internet lately? I know I see ads all over the place. So how to compete with what’s already out there? Keep coming back to read my Marketing Monday posts. I will start with the basics and gradually help guide you through cross-posting, branding, and more.

And yes, I know I started talking about this earlier, but things change… constantly. I will be offering the most up to date information I have

Leave me a comment:

Are you interested in what I have to say?
Do you have something you would like to see me touch on?
What is your favorite social media outlet?

Until next time…
Have fun reading!

~t


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#ThinkingThursday – How to Get Your Name Out There

4How To Get Your Name Out There

Marketing 101.1

The first thing I ask any client of mine is WHO are you? WHAT do you want to be known for? Some people know right off the bat. Others are still searching. Either way, it’s fine. Branding yourself or your products can evolve over time. But you need to have some direction.

Marketing 101.2

The second step is to google yourself or the name you want to be known as. A simple search will show you who your competition is with your name. You may be surprised as to what is out there. Sometimes it’s good, other times it can be something you definitely want to distance yourself from. Ultimately you need to see how you can create a unique image for you.

My third step is to search hashtags.

  • What can be unique to you?
    You’ll want something that is rarely used or hasn’t been used at all. Something that people will begin to associate with you. It can be your name. It can be a product you offer. Or, if you are like me, it can be a company you are under.
  • What can you incorporate that has a following?
    There are TONS of hashtags out there. Whatever industry you are in there are hashtags. By looking at others in your industry, you’ll see what they use. Really take notice of the hashtags that reappear over and over. THOSE are the ones you need to use. By using the repetitive ones, you’ll be included in a social media community circle.

Marketing 101.3

Once you know what you want to be known for and what you can use to be known as you can figure out HOW you want to begin marketing.

Social media outlets are great for this. You don’t have to buy ads to market. Although buying ads will ensure a broader range of people who see your post. The thing I don’t like about this is how many of those who see it really click through??? If you don’t know me from a hill of beans, WHY would you click on my ad? If you do buy ads, make sure to do some research and really know how to punch them up. You’ll need to stand apart from all the other ads out there.

I’ve chosen to go the ad-less route so far. Most of the people who see my posts know me, they know what I’m going through, what I’m doing, what I’m trying to accomplish. Most root me on. 😀 I try to be organic (even with my schedule posts) and be transparent. You can post on social media for free. Which is a big check mark for me. The problem with freebies is you will have to build your audience. Do not expect a tick up on your website or people buying your products left and right overnight. It takes time to build an audience. You have to show them you know your stuff. You have to let them know you. If you come across as an arrogant, crappy person, you won’t have very many people who are loyal. BUT if you are nice, try to help, pay it forward when you can, and be honest with people, people will want to associate themselves with you.

And trust me, you cannot fake that last line!
Over time, people will see you for what you truly are!

You will have to decide for yourself which social media outlets work for you. Not everyone likes Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or LinkedIn or whatever else you look into. I would suggest, however, to try them. TRULY try them. Give yourself a time limit and an honest try on the outlet to see if you like it. To be honest, I hated Twitter when I first started out on it. But after using it, and participating in chats and contests, I actually like it now. Go figure! *HA!*

Marketing 101.4

Make sure you post regularly. Transparency is great, but people need to hear from you often. Also, the more you post, the higher your SEO (search engine optimization) will be when people look for you on the interweebs. The search engines LOVE new content. They also love meta tags. If you blog and your server offers categories and/or tags, USE THEM!!! If you upload videos to YouTube… USE THE TAGS!!! Pinterest… ADD DESCRIPTION WITH COMMAS!!! Each of these creates Meta Tags which run in the background. The public doesn’t see them, but the search engines do!

By posting regularly, people will begin to notice your posts. They will also notice when you don’t post. Trust me on this. Posting regularly gives you accountability on whatever you are trying to be known for.

You’re busy, right. Posting throughout the day is too demanding. I get that. I get that a lot! I schedule my posts. There are plenty of companies out there who you can use to schedule. Some are free and some charge. Then you can take one afternoon and create enough posts to look busy on your chosen outlets for the week or two weeks or longer.

The main thing I want to stress about getting your name out there is to do it, do it as honest as you can, and do it consistently.

How do you get your name out there?
What are your favorite social media outlets to post on?

Until next time…
Happy writing!
~t


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#TipTuesday – Staying on Track!

2

Staying on Track!

calendar

Many people get overwhelmed when they are marketing their business. Good grief! I know I do!!! One thing I’ve learned to do is “calendaring” or “bullet journaling”. I know several people who do this successfully. To be honest, if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t get everything done. It’s impossible to keep up with everything.

I absolutely love my calendar and open it up every time I begin to write a blog post, schedule a tweet or Facebook post, or even update a website. Everything is on my calendar.

I use an excel spreadsheet *you’re surprised, right* to layout my monthly calendars. I break them down into different days and have a “TO DO” column. The TO DO list is great for the things I do daily or regularly. Then I list things on the individual days. Like I blog regularly, but then I will post on which days for that week. Once I have completed that task, I’ll highlight that cell in green. LOTS of green boxes makes me happy.   🙂

I wanted to give you all some help and have a FREE DOWNLOAD of my calendar setup.

Now you can go in and plug in the correct month and days. Then start penciling in the things you want to accomplish every day.

I also have a “TIME” column below my calendar for the times I want to schedule certain posts. Like at 8:00 am I have KidLit TV posts. At 5:30 pm I’ll have another KidLit TV post. I have certain posts for my own marketing that go out at 9:00 am, 1 pm, and 6:30 pm. Then I have posts for South Georgia Writers Guild and others that I market for. If I didn’t have my time column and my daily reminder, I would easily get things mixed up or miss them entirely.

I hope this helps some of you keep track of your marketing. Let me know if you try this! Or do you have a different way of keeping things on track? I love to see how others do things too.

Until next time…
Happy writing!
~t


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#MarketingMonday – Sticking Your Neck Out

1

Sticking Your Neck Out There!

Marketing can be an overwhelming thing. It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or an indie. You need to market.

As someone who has been published by small houses, I found I market my books (and myself) like many of my friends who have gone the indie route. Here is some things to consider when you begin to market yourself:

  1. What are you good at?
    Sit down and be honest with yourself. What are you good at? What are your strengths? Play to them. Toot that horn. One thing that people want is someone who can discuss things as a professional. Someone who knows what they are talking about. Once you figure this out, you can begin to work on your platform and build a base that is solid.
  2. What do you want to be know for?
    Again, look at those strengths. BUT also what do you want to accomplish! Yes, this can change over time. Yes, it does mean re-branding (or expand-branding). When you start talking to others, but open and honest.
  3. How can you approach your topic from different angles?
    Taking things head on is great! People expect that.  😀  BUT when you come from a different angle, you will make others pause, perhaps consider, and think about what you are talking about. How can you expand beyond your boundaries and bring others in? Look outside your field and work with others.
  4. How can you stand out among the competition?
    What can you offer that no one else does? What do you do differently? ***see #3!*** How can you make you YOU-nique?

All this is the beginning steps of sticking you neck out there, beginning to be recognized. Marketing does take time, but once you lay the ground work, others will begin to see you as someone knowledgeable in the field.

Let me know how you plan to lay your ground work.
What are you good at?
What is something you’d like to learn?

 

Until next time…
Happy writing!
~t


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Tuesday Tip: 91 Weedy Weak Words to YANK from Your Story

weedyweakwords (1)

91 Weedy Weak Words to
YANK from Your Story

We’ve all heard the advice to SHOW not TELL with our writing.  BUT… How can you do it? What do you look for? Why does it really matter?

I like to use the example of  SHOWING to that of GARDENING.

weed.01WHY DOES IT REALLY MATTER?weed.01

Have you ever started gardening. You stake out a space and prepare the earth. You make sure everything is just so. We do this with our writing too. We have our laptops/notepads handy. We have read books, taken classes, attended conferences, joined critique groups… everything to get our space ready to write.

Then we plant. But do you stop there? NO. You water. You fertilize. You talk to your budding little sprouts. Same for our writing. We continue to learn and write and grow. And yes, I talk to my characters too. :p

Do you stop there though? I hope not. The grass will grow up. Weeds will also pop through the soil. If you’re not careful, it will begin to choke out the plants you have so tenderly grown. With our writing we can become lazy too. We can fall on words that say what mean, but don’t convey what we want to our readers. These are our weedy, weak words. They will choke out our story line, making our reader’s minds wander and potentially leave the story.

We do all this to have a beautiful flower bed. Or delicious fruits and veggies. OR to have a great story that one day will be published.

weed.02WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?weed.02

Weeds can be tricky. Vines will creep and wind around a plant. Stickers will blend in with a plant’s leaf shape. SHOOT! Some weeds are actually pretty. You have to keep a sharp eye out, move some leaves around, and look in between spaces. With our writing those weedy words can be tricky too. They can hide behind well thought out sentences and characters. They can act like they are helping a verb, but they are really dragging down the text, giving your readers a vague description of what is really happening.

HINT:   A lot of weedy words end in “-ly”. You know… quickly, softly, hardly.   😉

weed.04HOW CAN YOU DO IT?weed.04

So what to do? What to do? If you have a garden, mow the grass. Get on your hands and knees and pull those dang weeds. Yes, get down in the dirt. Get dirty. Get sweaty. Yank and pull those over-grown nuisances out! Same with our writing. Really dissect your story, every paragraph, each sentence. Once again, we have to get down and dirty. Really dig into our writing and wrestle those buggers out!

But never fear. You CAN do this! Think of really wanting your reader to see how your character is acting. Here’s a great example:

He slowly walked to the door.
vs
He trudged to the door.
He crept to the door.

He quickly ran to the door.
vs
He zipped to the door.
He flew to the door.

See? The bottom two sentences give clear, crisp details of what your character is doing. Whereas the first sentences… well, who knows? To help you out, I’m attaching a word doc you can download that has 91 weedy words/phrases that you can almost always eliminate from your story and make it more vibrant for your readers minds.

WEEDY WEAK WORDS LIST

Here’s to no more weedy words!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you do to help improve your writing?
Do you know of any more weedy words to add to the list?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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7 Reasons WHY You Should Attend a Conference

7ReasonsWhyYouShouldAttendaConference7 Reasons WHY You Should
Attend a Conference

I’m sure you’ve been hearing about people going to conferences lately.  😉 There are some really great ones out there. Of course there are some ho-hum ones too. So why should you give it a go? I decided to sit down and list my reasons for attending conferences…

  1. people.svg.medpeople.svg.medpeople.svg.med   My tribe!!!
    Yes, this is my first reasoning. This is where I have found that I fit in. That I belong. These people “GET” me! They know the struggles. They can offer insight. They can sympathize with me and give me a good swift kick to help me continue on.
  2. brain   Gain knowledge
    The sessions you attend are wonderful. Most conferences offer different sessions at the same time. This way you can pick and choose according to your experience level and needs.
  3. girl_and_boy.svg.med   Make connections
    There are editors, art directors, agents, and professionals who present during these sessions. What better way can you think of to get your foot in the door than a one-on-one contact?
  4. network-md   Network
    Here you will meet other writers, illustrators, bloggers, marketers, and on and on. These may be the people who help spread your word around when the time comes. These are also the ones that you don’t mind sharing about. They have interesting things to say and can help others on their way.
  5. grin_smiley_emotion_icon_emoticon.svg.med   Gain confidence
    Attending a conference is a great shot in the arm. You feel more secure in yourself. You are inspired to take on your current project or a new one. You may even find that you were able to help someone out. Or perhaps someone helped you over a hurdle.
  6. 12262023431084949520rg1024_Graphs.svg.med Present
    If you have enough experience, you can offer to present at a conference too. This is a great way to get your name out. You can also offer your services. There are people who know how to write a query well, or critque, or maybe how to market.  😉
  7. open_book.svg.medpen_01.svg.med   Book sales
    Conferences offer the opportunity for their attendees to have their books available for purchase during the event. Some will even host a “signing hour”. There may be some stipulations though. Always check with the guidelines.

There are many, many more reasons.  😀   These are the ones that really stuck out to me.

What’s yours?

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What conferences have you attended lately
What are some other reasons why you attend?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Marketing… Going Out On a Limb

outonalimb

Marketing…
Going Out On a Limb

Getting our name out there is probably one of the hardest things you face as a small business. There are bigger entities out there, who have been in business longer, have more resources, and have their brand everywhere. So what can you do to compete? Well there are several things, really…

  1. Meet others in your industry.
    Talk to people. Get to know them as people, not just another person who writes what you write, draws like you draw, knows so-and-so, or works with such-and-such. While getting to know other people, they will get to know you. Slowly, you build up a network and share helpful tips and encourage each other.
  2. Talk to locals.
    Get to know the people who live in your community. There will be people who honestly wants to know you, what you do, and how you do it. You will find people who will want to support you. You will also find people who could care less too.
  3. Check out websites and blogs.
    See what others are doing. Leave a positive comment. If it’s a product, leave a review (hopefully positive). Tell others about what interests you. Share the knowledge kind of thing.
  4. Think outside of the box.
    Wonder “What If…” with your marketing. What if I approached honey dealers with my book about bees. Or What If I team up with the local bakery for birthday gift baskets? What If…

While doing all this, people will begin to ‘see’ you. Maybe follow you online. Maybe check out your products and services. Maybe leave comments on your blog. Maybe, just maybe, start talking about you to others.

I try to do these things. Meeting other writers, talking about other endeavors that could be explored. Reading blogs, commenting, and sharing content. I don’t only read writer and illustrators blogs… I read agent and editor blogs, book reviewer blogs, librarian blogs, mom blogs, and on and on. Do I comment on all of them. No. Do I share all of them. No. But I subscribe to a lot of these for email updates. I take time every day to read posts and share the ones that I really like.

I can see a difference in the traffic to this blog and my website. Hopefully they will spill over to sales, book signings, parties, and school visits.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What things do you do to go out on a limb?
Do you talk to people who work closely with your industry?
Do you venture out and try out several things? Like what?
Or do you stick to tried and true things? What are they?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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3 Ways to Connect

connecting3 Ways to Connect

If you have your own business, you have to make connections. Connections with your industry, connections with your customers/clients, and don’t forget your connections with potential co-workers and customers/clients.

How to make those connections?

  1. handshake_01.svg.medPut yourself out there.
    Yep. Stick your hand out and introduce yourself to people. *introvert alert! introvert alert!* I know. Trust me, I know!!!! Take a few deep breaths. SMILE. Say hello. You will be amazed how many people will smile and say hello back. Think positive things about the people around you. You will begin to relax and feel more comfortable. THAT will come across as you look at them and speak. People will notice. Make sure you keep the conversation organic. If it comes to a “What do you do?” moment, let them know.
  2. radio_wireless_tower_cor_.svg.medUse out an ad or interview.
    Use your local newspaper(s) to carry an ad or write an article. Contact your local radio and TV stations, see if you can get an interview. You will be able to reach a different group of people with each of these, as well as a broader range. You can write or talk about your services, a new product coming out, or an overall review of what you offer. The newspaper might have a certain angle you can approach them with. Morning talk shows can be a great opportunity to get your point across those in their morning routine.
  3. monitor_shandy_brown_.svg.medSocial media activity.
    *ahhh, you knew this was coming* So many of us are online A LOT. There is a great opportunity (mostly free too!!!!!!) to approach people through social media outlets. Website, blogs, facebook, twitter, youtube, and on and on I could go, because there are so many avenues to pursue here. Each one has its own pros and cons. The main thing is to find what works for you and your business, stick with it, and remain consistent.

In short, get yourself and your products/services out there. People won’t know about you if you don’t make an effort. If this is something you love doing, it will come across that way. People will see your excitement and will want to know more.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Are you using these avenues to get the word out?
What else have you found to be beneficial?
Which one would you like to see a more in depth post on?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Marketing Monday – Marketing takes time

MarketingTakesTimeMarketing Takes Time

Here we are well into January. I’m sure some of you have been creating a marketing plan for this year. I know I have.  I don’t care if you are an Indie Author or a Traditional Author, marketing falls primarily into the author’s lap. Marketing can be overwhelming and confusing. You need to post about your book(s), services, and other various things, but you don’t want to conk people over their head. The last thing I want people to do is skim over my name (along with my post) and quickly go to the next one. This can happen when you constantly post about only you.

Marketing can also seem like a lonely thing to do in the beginning. You have to build up an audience, network, make friends who will tweet/post/share/comment about what you are saying. This takes time. In the society we live in today many people have an instant need to see instant results. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Marketing is a lot like the publishing world…

Anyone who is involved in the industry knows that it moves at a snail’s pace.

We get an idea…   We write…   We research…   We revise…   We gather critiques…   We revise…   We submit…   We wait days/weeks/months…   We get a pass…   We revise…   We gather critiques…   We submit…   We receive an acceptance… We revise from edits…   We wait…   We get assigned an illustrator…   We wait…   We receive our galley…   We revise…   We wait… WE HAVE A RELEASE!

Now this may not be EXACTLY how your journey goes. I usually have a lot more revising and critiquing going on.  😀   But you can see how long and drawn out it can be. It can take months, if not years

Marketing can take as long. You have to build up all your connections through networking, making friends, getting to know those in your field. Then you need to come up with…

A Plan…

  • What avenues are you going to approach? Social media? <- Which one(s)?  Newsletters? Newspapers, TV, Radio? Blog?
    With each different avenue, there will be a different way to approach. Social media is easy and usually free. Local newspapers, TV stations, and radio are great to reach a different audience, but normally you can’t do this consistently enough unless you get a normal gig to fill a niche. Blogging can be great. You can host your own blog or guest blog on others. Either way, you need to be consistent with postings.
  • When will you post or approach?
    Each of these will determine how much you can make contact. I try not to over do my marketing. I have one post a day scheduled Twitter and Facebook. Only one. BUT I may talk about my books or services more often when it comes up organically in a conversations. I blog here twice a week. I have found (and read) that by blogging at least twice a week will help your SEO. It also creates consistency when you have a schedule and stick to it. For instance one week I post Monday (marketing) and Wednesday (website). The next week I post Tuesday (tips) and Thursday (thoughts). Does this change from time to time… yes, BUT for the most part it stays the same. Newsletters can be done differently. I’ve seen people post weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, and quarterly.
  • How will you generate interest?
    Ask questions. Challenge people to do something. Create a normal circumstance for conversation to happen (either on the blog or else where). Remind people to RT, share, and comment. Give them easy access buttons on your blog/newsletter to spread across social media. Comment and share other peoples blogs, posts, successes, and so on. When you help get the word out about people, people tend to want to do the same for you. A lot of my posts and tweets are about other people and articles that I like. It not only help promote others, but it can inform people about your interests and if they line up with what they want to know.
  • Be consistent. No matter what, do this. Create a look and use it across everything you do. I revised my look for 2016. Did you notice? Anything that I’m working with on my marketing will have the same look… blog, twitter, newsletter…

There is a lot to do. Like I was talking about on my time management post, make a plan and stick to it. It will take time, but little by little you can build up a following, make friends, and network with those in your industry. This doesn’t happen overnight. I started in 2014 with the sole purpose of building my platform and separating myself from someone else with my name (who is also on best selling lists). It was a challenge, but within six months I saw a difference when I searched for myself.  Depending on what (or who) you are against, you may see a difference a lot quicker than me.

The thing is, you have got to get out there and get to doing it!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::

How do you market?
Do you have a plan to go by?
How do you reach out to others?

Until next time,

Happy Writing!
~t

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