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The Craft of Writing

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Session: The Craft of Writing
Speaker: Bill Torgerson

I use a metaphor gifted to me by a former professor to think about my professional life. It goes, “Writing Floats on a Sea of Conversation.” For me, the metaphor suggests we sometimes think/write/work better in the company of others, even if that “company” takes the form of a text such as a website or video. What follows unpacks some of the conversation I have in mind for my presentation on The Craft of Writing:

I come to the Blogworld Convention as someone who thinks a lot about the craft of writing and as someone who is beginning to think of all the ways I might engage virtual audiences with digital texts. A year ago, I’d barely heard of hash tags and RSS feeds and a QR code might as well have been the name of a newly discovered sun for all I knew about the subject. The Blogworld group is a lively and professional one, and I look forward to continuing all the conversations that have carried me along over the past year and all the new ones that will begin in November.

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Why Authors Need a Blog

Author:
books

You might be asking yourself: With all the research, outlining, book proposals, actual book writing, and then revisions, why on earth should I spend my precious time blogging?

Because you want to sell your book.

It’s been said that 7 out every 10 Americans want to publish a book. If this number includes you then you’ve got to build a solid social platform that will appeal to publishers. Even if you plan on publishing independently, you’re going to need a thriving social platform that’s been built over time. As I’ve been dipping my toe into the giant ocean of authors and publishers for the Literally Social podcast, I’m discovering a common theme: successful, influential, best-selling authors all have a strong, multi-faceted social media platform that’s been built over time. Blogging is the foundation for that platform.

But why do I need a blog?

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr,  and TypePad are all great social networks. They all function as micro-blogs, too. There are 2 major problems with trying to build your social platform on these light-weight social webs, however:

1.  Social Networks don’t belong to you. If any one of them changes their terms of service, or goes virtually extinct, your influence there can become extremely limited.

2.  Social Networks aren’t extensive enough to give people a real idea of who you are or what you write about. People want to get to know authors today more than ever. And they want to know what drives writers and where they get their inspiration. Social networks only provide a fleeting glimpse into who you are and what your writing is all about.  Blogs give you an opportunity to share all your posts, an about page, a media kit, testimonials, and more.

Next time we’ll discuss your best options. And it won’t hurt or be expensive. I promise. 😉

Are you an aspiring author or have you already published a book? Please share your best advice and experiences down below.

Have friends, colleagues, or clients who are looking to get published? Please share this first in a series of posts to save them innumerable hours and frustration as they work on building their social platforms.

Get a Signed eBook Copy of Your Fave Book!

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I’m a sucker for book signings and signed copies of novels (I just went to a midnight book launch with Cassandra Clare and Holly Black last week), and I know there are a ton of people out there who feel the same way.

But what about the fans of eBooks, who don’t want hardcover novels lining their wall? What are they to do? There have been various workarounds – things like having an author sign a postcard or bookmark or even digitally signing a photo of their book – but there’s a new app in the works that sounds like the best solution of all … and it will debut at BookExpo America in May!

Autography Autography is a new tool that allows for a signed photo to be inserted IN to the eBook itself. Here’s how it works: A fan poses with the author for a photograph. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad. The author uses a stylus to sign the photo and include a message if they choose. The author then taps a button that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can be downloaded into the eBook.

It takes about 2.5 minutes, which is a little more than a normal autograph … but let’s face it, most fans want to sit and talk to the author for a minute anyway!

Autography also promotes the virtual tour, which is becoming pretty popular, especially with children’s book authors who do Skype tours with various schools. Now an author can have the tour and provide digital autographs, all without leaving their house.

And the app doesn’t just have to be used for eBooks. It can be a picture of concert tickets, a baseball card, a comic book, or whatever you want signed.

Some authors feel this further promotes a distance between themselves and the reader, but I think it can only help those who have already jumped on the eBook bandwagon. What do you think?

Authors Using Social Media to Generate Book Buzz

Author:
773726_bee

In my “free time” outside of BlogWorld, I’m an author. I’ve written three young adult novels in the past two years and currently have one out on submission to publishers. As you can imagine, I spend a good amount of time networking with other authors, agents, editors, etc. Topics of interest include a variety of items – especially the use of social media to foster buzz for an author and their book.

I’ve seen several authors generate buzz using Twitter and their blogs – but the most successful ones are those that develop and foster their brand and voice with social media (in all age groups and genres). My favorite example is Kiersten White. For the weeks leading up to the launch of her debut novel, Paranormalcy, Kiersten used social media to showcase her humor, wit, and creativity – building an audience and buzz that took her to the New York Times Bestseller list the week that Paranormalcy hit store shelves!

So what are some examples of Kiersten’s social media efforts and writing style? For weeks prior to launch, Kiersten took to Twitter with tweets that centered on a hashtag she created (#everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy). Here are just a couple (but there were hundreds of them!)

#everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy a muggle-born kid gets accepted to Hogwarts.

#everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella grow a spine, save *themselves*, and head to college.

Kiersten also spent time on her blog – writing posts that featured her book, but also showcased her fun and self-deprecating humor (like this one and this one).

But did this voice translate over to Paranormalcy? Absolutely. And that’s why it worked. If Kiersten’s writing was dark and mysterious, her social media audience would’ve been rather stunned to expect humor and read twisted.

Lastly, Kiersten took time to respond to pretty much everyone who engaged in a conversation – whether it was on Twitter or comments on her blog. She was gracious and caring and never made a fan feel uncomfortable for contacting her.

So my tips for authors looking to use social media to generate buzz for their book: Be Honest, Be True to Your Voice, Be Original & Engage in Conversations

In last night’s #yalitchat (a weekly Twitter chat for the young adult writing industry) we also talked about social media and buzz. Some great tips and thoughts include:

  • @veela_valoom: Social media cannot just be used a “promo-media” should always be a conversation #yalitchat

  • @LauraKreitzer: I noticed that when the social media and reviewers went quiet, so did the sales.
  • @LM_PrestonBLOG TOURs Rock! They are powerful in starting buzz! I’ve bought tons of books from blog tours
  • @AlysonCGreene: ARCS might not sell books, but I think reviews & blog recs do. ARCS allow bloggers and reviewers to read and create buzz pre-pub

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