Tumblr is a micro-blog website which allows users to post pictures, texts, video, etc to whoever is following them. It’s also quite a useful site for authors if you want to market yourself and your books. I’ve been using Tumblr for the last year or so and I’ve come to feel that it plays an essential part of staying in touch with people who might find my work relevant. If you’re an author and you aren’t on Tumblr, you might want to give it a try and see how it helps you connect with people on the site.
So far, the majority of Tumblr users seems to be in an age range between teens and early to mid thirties. A lot of the content shared is multi-media including pictures and texts or videos. A lot of the content shared is fan oriented, but I also see a lot of Social Justice causes shared on Tumblr. A lot of the content on Tumblr is unique to it, which means that it isn’t cross shared across multiple social media platforms.
Why should authors use Tumblr? If your target demographic is on Tumblr, you’ll want to be on there as well. But there’s also a variety of other reasons to consider having a Tumblr presence. What I like about Tumblr is the hashtag feature, which while not altogether unique, is useful for finding your target audience and connecting as well making sure your contents get in front of that target audience. Another feature I find intriguing is how Tumblr is set up to encourage sharing of content, both in terms of reblogging and favoriting. To comment on posts you typically need to reblog a post and offer your own commentary, which makes commenting a bit less back and forth.
How should authors use Tumblr? If you are going to use Tumblr, there are a couple suggestions I have. First, make sure you post some unique content just for Tumblr users. For example I’ll share excerpts of my latest book on Tumblr and nowhere else. Or I’ll write an essay that’s just for Tumblr. Second if you want people to respond and comment, makes you sure end a post with a question. This creates a little box at the bottom of your draft that asks if you want to let people respond. Doing these two things has helped me engage with my Tumblr audience more effectively.
Tumblr is definitely a useful social media site to be on. If you haven’t set up an account or have one, but don’t use it much, consider investing some effort into it, as it will help you connect with a different audience than what you’ll find on other social media sites.
One of the challenges of being an author is figuring out how to market your books. The romantic dream of books flying off shelves on their own rarely happens. Usually the author needs to do a lot of work around marketing the book and themselves. One of the ways that an author can market their books is through sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing. These sites are set up so that people can catalog and review the books they have or wished they had. However if you’re an author you can also create an author account.
Simply claiming your author account can help you because of the search engine optimization benefits. It’s a couple more sites linked to your author site, with similar content which makes it easier for people to find your books and website. An author account gives you a chance to claim the books you’ve written and interact with your fans. It also gives you another place to get book reviews. And there’s many other tools as well. For example on Goodreads you can do a book giveaway contest. I recently started one for my Manifesting Wealth book and I’ve already had 99 people indicate interest in the contest, I’m only giving five books away, so that means there’s a good chance the other people will possibly buy the book. And those who get the giveaway typically are more likely to review a book.
If you don’t have an account on good reads or library thing, consider setting one up. It doesn’t take a lot of time and the process of getting an author account is relatively easy. Once you get the account, take some time to fill out your profile and provide some interesting information to people. Then explore the sites and what they offer to authors. As you look over what they offer, ask yourself how you’ll use it to market your books. For example, I chose to do the book giveaway as a way of raising interest in Manifesting Wealth and also timed it with the holiday season in hopes that people entering the contest might also consider buying a copy. I’ll likely try a similar giveaway after the winter conference season is over.
Making use of these sites can help you market your books and doesn’t take a lot of work on your part. After you have everything set up, visit each site once or twice a month and let people on other social media sites know that you have an author account in case they want to write reviews for your book.
At Immanion Press, one of our missions is to support social justice causes in the Pagan community. This is one of the reasons we’ve published anthologies such as Shades of Faith, Shades of Ritual, Rooted in the Body Seeking the Soul, and will soon be publishing Bringing Race to the Table. In the wake of recent events where unarmed black people such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice are murdered by White police officers, with no justice brought to the offenders, we reaffirm our social justice mission to continue to bring to light the issues that need to be discussed in the Pagan community and in the mainstream communities. We stand with our author Crystal Blanton, in support of her and her mission. We align ourselves with the statement Black Lives Matter and reaffirm our stance to support social justice causes that create equity for all, especially for marginalized and oppressed groups of people. We see you and we value you.
Different authors have different approaches to writing books. I thought I’d share my approach, which may not work for every writer, but nonetheless may have elements that do work. Since I write primarily non-fiction books, it should be kept in mind that I’m writing from that perspective. Nonetheless, I do think Fiction writers can get some ideas as well from how various writers write.
Before I even start writing a book, I put together a rough outline of the book and what topics will be covered. If you’re writing a fiction book you might outline what events will occur in the book. The outline is put together to provide some organization to your thoughts and create a structure through which you can begin to write the book. However the outline shouldn’t be treated as set in stone. It is a suggestion of what can be done with the book.
Next I start doing research on the book. Research can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, because I’m usually reading what other people have to say about the topic as well as related topics. In the case of Fiction writers, you might end up doing research on a setting or the history of an area or time period to help inspire you. As I read books, I create a bibliography. I also extract the specific quotes and cites I’ll be using in the book and put them into a notes file.
When I’m ready to write the book, I take the notes file and start placing specific quotes and cites into separate files that represent the chapters of the book. This makes it easier to write the book and integrate the relevant quotes into it. If you are writing fiction, you might place notes you’ve taken about places or eras you’ve researched into chapters that you think will feature information along those lines.
Then it’s time to write the book. I focus on writing a chapter at a time. I don’t think about the other chapters until I’ve written the one I’m working on and I keep chapter files distinct and separate until the entire book is written so I’m not distracted by previous content or an urge to rewrite what I’ve written. This keeps the revisions down to a minimum while I’m writing the first draft.
After the first draft is written I combine all the chapters into one file. I then revise that the entire book, going through and making appropriate changes where needed. After that’s done the book is shipped to an editor and revised upon getting the edits back.
This is my process of writing a book. What’s yours?
Ars Vercanus is now available!
For as long as humanity has existed, there have been those skilled in the occult arts. Such individuals are capable of transforming the self, perceiving the subtle aspect of existence, and affecting reality via nonphysical means. In every culture, across every era, shamans, magi, mystics, and seers have refined their arts. This has produced a rich and varied collection of magickal techniques and rituals. Ars Vercanus presents a comprehensive system of core magickal techniques and theories distilled from an in-depth cross-cultural analysis of various magickal traditions. The theories of Vercanus Magick impart a deep understanding of how magick actually works. Vercanus techniques clearly delineate methods by which magick may be effectively performed. This style of magick entails a profound shifting of consciousness, facilitating an enhanced perception of reality. Through this expanded consciousness the practitioner perceives the deeper aspects of reality within which magick occurs. The techniques of Vercanus Magick entail the mastering of consciousness and internal energies. This mastery induces a profound transformation in the magus. Thus transformed, the magus is capable of shaping reality at its deepest level.
Up until a few years ago, I always struggled with the criticism I’d receive about my writing. Whether it was my editor pointing out grammatical or content errors or it was a bad book review panning the writing, or something else, I wouldn’t always handle it gracefully. I think most, if not all writers, go through similar struggles. Our writing is our creative expression, are intellectual children and we feel protective of it, see it as something special…and it is, but nonetheless it’s also something which can always be improved on. Additionally how we handle criticism is important, because the professional connections we have will remember if the author has acted like a prima donna or has handled the criticism in a professional manner.
Recently a professional acquaintance shared a story with me about an author who’d gotten some bad reviews of her books and had blamed everyone else but herself for the quality of writing. This person was unwilling to examine her own writing or the criticism she received in an objective manner. Instead she took the criticism personally. As a result she wasn’t actively working on improving her writing and when another opportunity came for her to feature her writing elsewhere, other people remembered her behavior and didn’t want to offer her that chance because it was clear that her writing and her attitude still hadn’t improved.
Now ideally we all want constructive criticism, which points out what could be improved and offers some suggestions to that effective. However, as writers we necessarily need to accept we won’t always get constructive criticism. And when we don’t get constructive criticism, we need to have a thick skin and more importantly be able to look at the criticism and determine if anything of value can be gotten from it that can help us improve our writing. It’s not easy to do, but what I’ve found is helpful is reminding myself that what’s most important to me is improving the quality of my writing…so when I receive negative criticism, I look at it with that lens and determine if there is any valuable insights. If so, I’ll take them and use them and if not, I’ll move on, because there’s little point in dwelling on the issues that other people have with your writing.
As a writer you need to accept that not everyone will like your writing, nor does everyone need to. As long as you can accept that, you will be able to handle whatever criticism comes your way. Remember as well that most criticism isn’t personal and when it is, it has less to do with you and much more to do with whatever reaction your writing brought up for the person reading it.
The other day my friend Shauna told me a discovery, which highlights how Facebook is becoming more antagonistic to small businesses, creatives etc., and also less useful. She’d been promoting a concert and workshop for Sharon Knight on Facebook and had created a Facebook event page and invited people to it. She shared it on her personal page as well as on other pages, but what she discovered is that most of her friends didn’t even see the event share in their newsfeed. The only way they saw it is if they visited her personal page directly. Then she told me how she hadn’t seen a Facebook event share I did until she visited my personal page. Further discussion revealed that if the words buy or show or something else sales related are used in an update, its much less likely that people will see the update.
If you are someone who has a Facebook business page, you already know that the business page is next to useless. You can have lots of likes, but only have a post get through to a small percentage of those likes. The reason that happens is because Facebook is trying to get you to pay money to boost the post. However even paying money to boost the post doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach a significant amount of other people you weren’t reaching before. With the changes to event sharing, Facebook is again trying to get you to pay money to get your post in front of the eyes of people. So what can you do?
I tried an experiment where I wrote about an event and posted it and then posted a comment with the link to event. Apparently more people did see that post, because the link wasn’t in the original post. That could be something to try as a way to get around Facebook metrics. However, I also think its fair to say that Facebook is becoming less and less useful for marketing purposes, and whether you’re an author, musician, artist, or small business, the reality is that every dollar needs to count in a big way if you’re going to make the most of it. Facebook marketing isn’t what its cracked up to be, so while you can do it, I recommend exploring alternate approaches as well, depending on whatever event you are trying to do. I’ve found that flyers, if used correctly, can actually do a lot to generate interest in an event, but some of that involves conversations with whoever is hosting your event.