SIGN-UP for the SUMMER SPARKS writing challenge

Today is the day!

WooHoo! YEAH! Right On!

It’s time to SIGN-UP for

Summer Sparks

YOU MUST COMMENT ON THIS POST TO BE CONSIDERED ‘SIGNED-UP’ TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR PRIZES AT THE END OF THE CONTEST.

Goals of this challenge:

  • Learn the different aspects of writing picture books
  • Get a creative spark going
  • Have at least 14 sparks for new stories at the end of the challenge
  • Mingle with some great people of the writing community
  • Oh yeah! Win some great swag too!

~~~GRAND PRIZE~~~

I’m giving away one FULL CRITIQUE to those who:

  1. SIGN-UP by June 14th.
  2. Have at least 14 story SPARKS
  3. TAKE THE PLEDGE at the end of the contest.

so…

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW:::
Tell me you are ready for some SUMMER SPARKS and get to writing. Sign-up will be from June 1-14, but YOU MUST comment on this post! AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER INTO THE DRAWING BELOW!

Happy writing everyone!
~t

CLICK on the link below to enter into the Give-AWAY…

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Marketing: YOUTUBE *video killed the radio star*

Today I’m talking about Marketing with VIDEO.

Yes, video!

What better concept to get your message across. Let’s face the facts. MOST PEOPLE ARE VISUAL LEARNERS. This means a picture is worth a thousand words.  (which makes me sad… I’m an author! I live on words.) You can tell someone something (directions/recipes/variations of color/yadda yadda), but if you SHOW them… It clicks!

Think of other social media. Sure you read peoples status updates, but the ones with pictures will grab your attention faster. Right? RIGHT! The ones with videos on how-to or something funny last with you longer. Right? RIGHT! This is one reason why Pinterest has blossomed like it has. It works with pictures.

THEN ADD GOOGLE TO THE MIX! Yep, I said it. Google is the #1 search engine and if you load your videos onto YouTube (which is #3 search engine, btw!!!) You  will get tones of hits. Because Google owns YouTube. PLUS, PLUS, PLUS YouTube has made it so easy to add categories and tags to your posts to make them easier to find. THUS enriching your seo!

But I don’t know how to make a video. What kind of equipment do I have to buy?
Do you have a smartphone? Here’s a quick and simple video I did for an example:

 

Another option is using your Google+ account and making the most out of Google+Hangout On Air.

 

 

Using videos will only add to your search engine optimization. It is a total Win situation.

You don’t have to be on camera either. There are tutorials such as power point, book trailers, interviews, and so on. BUT by being on camera, your customers, followers, and others in your field will be able to get to know you more, such as your mannerism, voice, smile, sarcastic remarks. They will begin to trust you more because their is the “PICTURE” of you right there in front of them.

 

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think. What ideas have you seen worked? What else would you like to know about video? I’d love to hear from you.

Now get out there filming!
~t

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www.Wednesday… 12×12 and Julie Hedlund

 

 

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I wanted to remind everyone about this great writing challenge.  ^^^^^ Yep, that one. The 12×12 Writing Challenge is currently underway aaaaaand it’s not to late to join in. Buuuuuuuuut time IS running out! Friday, February 28th, is THE LAST DAY to register to officially participate in this years’ challenge.

What Is It About

12×12 is all about writing. You have 12 months to write 12 picture book first drafts. Seems pretty easy, right. *cue evil laughter in the background* Believe it or not, writing is hard, life gets in the way, and sometimes your muse takes a vacation without telling you.
With the 12×12 writing challenge you get the added benefit of a community of writers who all are trying to do what you do… in the same genre! You can bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions, express concern, post exciting details, and rant. hahaha. Even when someone else is asking a question, it may trigger an idea with you and you are off and running with an idea yourself.  The group is mixed with newbies, mid-range, and experienced writers. This is an added benefit. You get experience, you get the ones digging in, and you get the ones who are struggling and may see something in a different way that you haven’t thought of.

How To Join

You can click on the 12×12 picture above or click here.  There are 3 different levels and different fees that go along with them.

What To Do After You Join?

W-R-I-T-E! Put your butt in that chair  (BIC)  and get to business! That is part of the job description. You have to write, type, scribble, BLEED those words out and get them down.
There is a forum with 12×12 as well as a Facebook page where you can ask questions, post events, introduce yourself, find critique groups, post the first 250 words of your ms, and MORE!

 

Why am I posting about something that someone has to pay for? Because I use this challenge myself! This is my 3rd year doing 12×12 and I believe the motivation and people keep me accountable and moving in the right directions.
Does it work? Yes, if you put work into it.
Will it guarantee a sale? No, that is up to you. YOU have to work at this writing business. YOU have to research publishing houses. YOU have to submit and get those rejections. YOU have to not get discourage and decide that YES, THIS IS WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO DO!
But… you will have a whole slew of people behind you. Rooting you on! And enjoying it when that sweet success does happen. 🙂

There are other writing challenges out there too. I participate in quite a few. hahaha. I like challenging myself to become a better writer. How about you?

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know if you are participating in the 12×12 Writing Challenge. Or what writing goals do you have? How are you going to keep yourself accountable and achieve those dreams?
I’d love to hear from you!!!!

Happy Writing!
~t

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Thinking Thursday… Think Happy Thoughts

Any happy thought?

Yep… that and faith and trust and a little dust…er, elbow grease.  😉

Do you have a dream?

Writing, drawing, cooking, photography, being a great mom…

Well all you have to do is have FAITH. Get a plan together. Make short-term goals to meet your long-term goal. What are the steps you have to take to achieve each short-term goal. Do they all build on each other to reach your long-term goal?
Take classes, practicing, meeting others in your field, trying different mediums… these are just a few things you can do to begin your journey.

Then there is TRUST. Take that first step. Join organizations, groups, communities. All these will not only give you knowledge, but will also give you support in what you are trying to accomplish. Trust is a lot. It is hart. It is worth it!

Don’t forget the DUST! Get in there and get involved. Time to roll up the sleeve and put your back into it. Trial and error DOES NOT mean you fail. It means you are trying. I rather have a million fails, then to look back and wished I had tried.

What are your happy thoughts? Those things that make you want to spread your wings and soar.

Mine? Well it has actually changed over time. To begin with… I wanted to write well.
Once I really dove into it, my plans changed. I wanted to become a published author.
Now? I want to be able to call writing my full-time career.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what your happy thought is. Or what you are doing to achieve your goal.

Good luck and YOU CAN FLY!
~t

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Tips on a Tuesday: Writing In The New Year!

Hello everyone.

Tips! I love them. I take them to heart. I try to follow them and incorporate them into my writing. How about you? What do you do to help take your writing further? What do you do to expand your knowledge of the craft? Here are a few things I am doing this year:

  • CHALLENGES
  • ORGANIZATIONS/GROUPS
  • READING
  • LEARNING MY CRAFT

CHALLENGES

There are many challenges out there to push you in your writing, keep you accountable, and find a community of writers. Starting off the year, I am participating in 12×12 Challenge, Start the Year Off Write, and ReviMo. (click on the badges to find out more and participate yourself!)  Eventually PiBoWriWee and PiBoIdMo will come. AND ***SNEAK PEEK! SNEAK PEEK!*** I am working behind the scenes with some colleagues to get a challenge to kick the Summer months off. SO STAY TUNED TO THIS BLOG!

12x12in12-largeBadge_StartTheYearOffWriteReviMo2014

The best thing about participating? The people! Let’s face it writing is an isolating profession. Writing challenges bring people together and brain storm, talk about the craft, and somewhere to have a sound board.

ORGANIZATIONS/GROUPS

There are some great organizations or groups you can join too. The SOCIETY OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS, The CHILDREN’S BOOK INSIDER, and The INSTITUTE OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE RX are just a few.  These groups share insider information on editors and agents. They also post exciting news such as winners of awards, new sales, and new businesses that are opening in the field. PLUS there are many, many, many groups on FaceBook that you can search for. These groups share support, encourage writing, network about the writing field, and on and on I could go.   😀

READING

The old adage “Write what you know.” is true. So READ what interests you. Read for the entertainment and enjoyment of the piece. THEN read it again… look the format, outline, and white space of the material. Map it out with high and low points. Break it down… even picture books have layers!!! What is the overall theme? What is underneath? Type it out! YES, type it out. You will get a feel on how the manuscript flows, not the end piece, but the actual words. Really dissect the work and get to the bare bones of the material.

LEARNING MY CRAFT

  • Read how-to books!!! Yes, MORE reading.
  • Take classes. You don’t have to go to college to do this. There are plenty of courses available online… some are free.
  • Discuss your manuscript with like-minded people. I’m not talking about your spouse (unless they write -and in your genre) or your best friend or your children. Get someone else in your genre to give you an honest critique. Critique groups are a great way to build your craft and make your writing stronger.

So that should give you are great start to begin your writing journey OR to give you a boost on your continued journey. I would love to hear about what you do to give yourself the shot in the arm and get your writing going! Leave me a comment below!!!

Happy Writing,
~t