happy blogiversary to me: one year later

img_0545It has been precisely a year (… in two days) since I published my first post on this site. I’m not sure why I decided posting about scrubbing toilets was a good way to start out, but we’ll just go with it.

I’ve had blogs/sites before that I was committed to. I’ve been in the mommy blog world and the my-perspectives-on-the-world, world– but never before have I felt so connected with the blogosphere as I do with this space. Being part of the writing community is definitely a special place, and I’m so thankful for all of you who have shared, liked, commented, and followed along as I learn-as-I-go with you.

I continue to have big plans, including posts from published authors to come, as well as unpublished authors, and giveaways and more tips I hope you find helpful– and plenty of book reviews, as my TBR is continuously growing. But I would love to hear from YOU if there’s something you want to see more of, or something I didn’t touch well enough on. After all, this isn’t just somewhere for me to spew my guts– it’s somewhere to reach out and touch others (I hope), and a place where I can grow as an author and person.

Suppose I can stop being sappy now and tell you that I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY.

It is VALENTINE’S DAY after all, and I want to show y’all just how much I LOVE you.

SO.

Leave me a comment to enter to win a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card! Giveaway is open through Monday, February 20th, and the winner will be announced on the 21st.

I will also be opening this to my Instagram followers– so if you want an extra entry, follow the instructions on that post as well and make sure to let me know that you’ve liked/followed both places!

… that’s a wrap. I look forward to another year, or five, or ten– or however many this can be kept up– with y’all.

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new year, new writing

img_2251It’s hard to believe we are ten days into the new year already. With a new year always comes new expectations, and as a writer it’s hard not to set that bar high with goals and aspirations for the next twelve months.

After all, it’s a new year- with no mistakes in it.

Yet.

Maybe you want to make up for what you didn’t do last year. Maybe you want to be more consistent with your blog, your marketing, your WIP, your planning, your pantsing– maybe all of the above. Whatever the case, remember to give yourself some breathing room. Just because it’s a new year does not mean everything is going to change over night.

After Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, I sat down and planned out my blogging for the next three months. I have high hopes for sticking to it, and doing the same thing in March before my plans are up.

I know I can do it. The question is will I make the time to do it.

With the blogging I planned out my timelines for my current projects. One by Valentine’s Day, the other by June. Both projects need editing and, well, one needs to be completely finished. Once again, I know I can do it. The question is will I make the time to do it.

If y’all have any advice as to how to stick to goals and timelines, by all means toss them my way. But since I’m usually in the position to share, I thought I’d put before you what normally keeps me going.

STAY CALM & SEIZE/MAKE TIME

Even just ten minutes a day of writing means that I’ve done something. Or an hour a week. Or thirty minutes one evening. I don’t have to sit down and force myself to write every day (although I know some authors do, and I am thoroughly impressed but this). I do have a life outside my writing life, and have a lot going on, at that, in that other whole side of things. But I also know I’ll be more than disappointed in myself if I don’t do my best to reach these goals. And the best way to do that- is to stay calm, and seize the time that’s before me, and make time when it’s not 100% there.

BEND BUT DO NOT BREAK

Life happens. Plot holes happen. Murphy strikes and things are lost. I must allow myself to be flexible to these things so I do not break. Because if I am rigid and think that everything has to happen a certain way, I most certainly will break. We must bend with the outside world that has nothing and everything to do with our writing, but we must not let it break us– because then our writing would never make it.

BE THANKFUL, HUMBLE, & PROUD

Be thankful for all that you have already, especially when you don’t meet your goals. This is something I struggle with no and again, but something that is constantly on my mind and heart. I must be thankful, because without my friends, family, jobs, other activities, support– I wouldn’t be able to chase the author dream of mine.

Be humble in every way possible. Accept help if people offer it, so that you might apply it to your writing whenever possible. Do not brag about accomplishments or things that seem like big achievements or success, because nearly all of those things can be lost at some point.

Be proud. It is possible to be proud and humble at the same time. Be proud of what you accomplish. Be proud of your failures. Be proud of your dreams. These things help make up who you are, and you have worked so very hard for them. Keep them close to your heart. They, along with all the support and love in your life, will help you continue to believe in yourself.

This was a bit sappy, I know. But it’s January, am I right? I’ll sharpen up as the months pass by, promise!

how blogging builds your brand

imageIf you read about how Twitter can get you published, you may recall that I hinted at blogging. Well, hold on to your pencils, pens, and keys, because this one can get a bit tricky.

Most authors today have a blog. This is because having an online presence is essential. I repeat, essential.

Why?

Because agents and publishers want to know these three things:

Your ability to attract an audience/following

Your publicity potential

Your continued writing skills

All of these apply to your platform because they are letting publishers know that you are marketable/sell-able. Publishers are not just investing into your book—they are investing into you.

I am not saying you have to sell your soul here. But I am saying that a blog can do wonders.

But where do you begin? After all, as I said, you can find most anyone online these days.

How do you stand out? How do you make a unique writing blog? How do you appeal to those that could one day be your book-buying audience?

As always, I’ve got some advice for you.

Know Your Audience

You want to attract people who will, one day, buy that book you’ve written/ you’re writing. You may love to blog about recipes, but are you selling a cookbook? Are you writing for teens? Find a way to incorporate that into your blog. Writing historical fiction or non-fiction? Use facts and images from that era in your blog. Writing self-help? Give advice! If your blog is not attracting the same audience as your readers, publishers might use that as a reason to pass you by. Take this from someone who has personally had that happen—know your audience!

Post Regularly

Whether you’re posting once a month, twice a month, once a week, every day—make it consistent. Let your readers know they can depend on you. If you post on Tuesday at 5AM—do so every time you have a post. Regulate your site to see when you have the most traffic and adjust accordingly, but try to post at the same time, every time.

Build a Community

Find a few blogs that have similar pieces of your puzzle. Read, comment, and follow those blogs. Do this until you have a stead community of 5-10 blogs that you are in communication with. They post on your blog, you post on their blog, you like, follow, share, and support each other. This community is so important. You might be able to launch a blog and grab supporters and never have to do much more, but it’s unlikely. You want them to love you, and they want you to love them. So find and build a community to help your marketing even more.

Before long, the blog will work for you.

There are so many blogs out there, good and bad, that it might be intimidating of starting your own. Everyone wants to be different and unique, and with a plethora of sites out there it may seem impossible to stand out. But let me tell you something: you will. Just like your story will fall into the hands of the right agent, editor, and/or publisher—your blog will attract the right readers who will love you because you are you.

Everyone is different, so find your voice and let others hear it. Your book is one way to share the stories building up inside you; your blog is another. Odds are, you won’t regret it.

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

building your marketing platform

imageWe have all faced a form of rejection. Recently, I faced one that was a big shot. As in, a pop-up wall…like a giant jack-in-the-box.

I imagine you take my meaning.

What I learned from the rejection was that my Internet footprint wasn’t sufficient.

It was scary, intimidating, and if I’m being honest, heartbreaking. 

It was such a shock because I felt like I had worked very hard on my online presence since before I started truly dedicating myself to writing my books. I put a part of me out there that was vulnerable and fun. And I had hoped it was creative enough to stand out.

If you’re wondering how to make yourself marketable, I am not a professional in this department. However, I have learned a thing or two recently, so I thought I’d share my knowledge with you.

 

FIGURE OUT YOUR TARGET

You need to know who you’re writing for and what you’re writing topic or theme is before you start a blog. If you’re an author, you need to make your blog relatable to the potential audience of your books. Whether that’s the writing community, teens, or little kids, make your online presence relatable to your future book readers.

 

BE CONSISTENT

The last thing you want when turning yourself into your own brand is to be wishy-washy. Whether you’re posting once a month, a week, or daily, always schedule your posts for the same time. This way your audience knows what to expect, and it will make it easier for them to depend on you. This helps with your image.

 

BE ACTIVE

Marketing yourself takes work. Posting on your own blog and sending out some tweets is not going to be enough. Reach out to those who are in similar boats as you; visit their sites or respond to their tweets, and eventually you’ll find others doing the same for you. This is a give-and-gain scenario. You will not be marketable or able to grow your brand if you aren’t proactive. Period. Give at least ten minutes a day to your online presence. Your activeness will eventually have a snowball effect and will pay off.

 

BE PATIENT

Creating a platform for yourself takes time. Once you decide what your platform is, it’s up to you (and eventually your agent and publisher) to build it plank by plank. But you are the front-runner in making sure it is supported so that it can grow.

 

Everything in the publishing business takes time, no matter what route you take. But every day you spend working on your platform is one more follower, one more re-tweeter, one more reader.

The publishing world is cutthroat, and publishers want to see that you know how to navigate the marketing waters. The time to start building your platform is right now! Design a blog, make a website, Tweet and Follow and Friend and Post, and do it every day.

 

 

my author Twitter account is: @emily_hdunn

#writerslifeapparel Twitter account is: @writerslifeapp

my Facebook page is: Emily Herring Dunn

my IG is: @emilyherringdunn

#writerslifeapparel IG is: @writerslifeapparel

 

Share yours in the comments! I’d love to connect and help each other out :).

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!