Tag Archives: Authors on Facebook

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

9 May

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

As an author—but also as a marketer—I am constantly stressing the importance of being true to yourself and being true to your work. For instance, it’s a popular question to ask an author how long it took them to write a story. In turn, this has caused millions of debates about how long it should take. The infamous Stephen King, for example, has been quoted saying that writing a first draft shouldn’t take longer than three months, the length of a season. And to that, I say, pish posh. (Respectfully, of course.)

To me, it is ALWAYS more important to be true to the story than to meet a deadline. I mean, George R.R. Martin practically dedicated his life to writing A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones for you HBO fans), and he’s labeled as a serial fantasy genius. His first draft, I doubt, only demanded three months. But he didn’t care. All he cared about was writing it, so he wrote it, and he took as much time as he wanted to write it.

So what does this have to do with you?

Well, I see a lot of authors getting frazzled over writing advice or reading discussions or publishing debates or marketing tips or (insert panic now as I continue listing uncountable reasons for authors to worry). And it isn’t worth it. None of these worries are worth an author’s identity. Be you. That’s my number one rule when I talk to my clients about social media marketing as we create a plan for them. As an example, if you hate Facebook, stay off of it. There’s no reason you should be worrying yourself silly about likes and shares and outreach when you could be on Twitter with your favorites and retweets and hashtags. There’s no reason you should be throwing your precious writing time away for all the millions of things the Internet demands you to do, because—I’ll let you in on a little secret—no one can do it all. No one. So, it’s better to just do what you want to do.

beyou

This doesn’t go to say that this is easy. It’s not. There are many temptations that sneak into our time slots. It’s easy to be on Facebook and see an author who has 10,000 more likes than you and feel like you have to do what they do in order to get to where they are. But we have to stop focusing on getting to “where they are” and start focusing on getting to “where you want to be”. I get it. That can be a little confusing, especially when you “want” to be where they are. Those 10,000 likes look nice after all. But those are THEIR 10,000 likes. Those exact same 10,000 likes are not going to be the 10,000 likes you want for you and your book. You want your own 10,000 likes—likes you achieve by being you. But this is exactly where I see a popular problem arise. Authors are so focused on getting “more” followers that they forget to dedicate time to the followers they already have. The goal is not followers. The goal is being yourself.

That being said, you can definitely have more goals and look up to someone—admire their work ethic, respect their status, learn from them, etc.—but remind yourself that you are going to achieve your own goals your own way, and there’s no need to copy what others are doing. As an example, one author kept sharing exactly what another author with a larger follower was sharing. That’s not going to work. That’s not going to do anything. Why? Here are three reasons:

  1. Someone is already doing it.
  2. You’re trying to be them, not you.
  3. You’re sharing it for the wrong reasons. (For followers, not because you enjoy it.)

You have to be you and do what you want to do. When you do that, you will come through as a unique and wonderful voice, and people who like you will find you. There’s no need to worry or debate or copy or steal or take shots at one another.

Just be you, and everything else will fall into place.

~SAT

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Are you a writer? As many of you know, I have guest bloggers every Monday. I accept original posts about anything to do with writing and reading. It can be as complicated as in-depth writing tips to as simple as how your favorite series affected your life. You do not have to be published to be a guest blogger. Bios, links, and photos are encouraged. Please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

Why Are Parents Dead in Fiction?

24 Sep

Announcements:

ShannonAThompson.com hit 18,000 followers! As a surprise, I shared the meaning behind all the chapter titles in Take Me Tomorrow on my Facebook page. Every chapter title is actually a direct quote from the chapter you’re about to read. This is to represent the clairvoyant drug, tomo, since it allows takers to experience the future. For those who haven’t read the story, tomo does not necessarily give you clear visions. It affects all people and all senses differently. Sometimes, you hear it, taste it, smell it, or feel it. In fact, it’s hardly ever clear as to what is happening. Only those who are experienced with the drug are able to interpret what they are experiencing, and even then, everything is just a guess, and the drug itself is debatable. But the chapter titles aren’t! If you go through the novel you will see the titles later on in the prose. Chapter One – Don’t Come Back – is found in this quote, “My heart lurched at his sudden change in demeanor, but I managed a nod toward the north. The forest opened up to the only park Topeka still had. ‘Don’t come back.’”

When Eat Books For Breakfast reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, she said it “was definitely an intriguing read—different from most of the other books in its genre…I would recommend it to readers of young adult dystopian fiction.” Read the full review by clicking here or check out my latest novel here.

I would also like to take a moment to thank Dan Thompson for including Take Me Tomorrow in his post Two Books Are Better Than One. (And no, believe it or not, we’re not related.)

Thank you for reading my announcements today!

Why Are Parents Dead in Fiction?

The other day, I was sitting in a hookah house while attending an online event. (I don’t always have the Internet at home, so I go there to work.) That’s when a good friend of mine came up to keep me company, and I was telling him about a novel I am working on. The main character is an orphan. That’s when we got to talking.

Why are parents always dead or absent?

This isn’t a new conversation. I’ve had it with many people, mainly in regards to Disney movies, but I think it applies to most fiction, especially young-adult fiction, but I’ll get to why I think that in a minute. First, I would like to admit that my stories are no exception. The Timely Death Trilogy involves two protagonists – Eric’s biological mother committed suicide, and his father doesn’t have the best relationship with his son, while both of Jessica’s biological parents died in a car wreck, but she was adopted, and she does have a good relationship with her adoptive parents. In Take Me Tomorrow, Sophia’s father is practically absent due to his traveling job, and her mother hasn’t been in her life since she was seven, but she does live with a mother-sister figure named Lyn. Why did I do this? I can’t speak for every author when I explain my theories, but I will explain my personal reasons for deceased or absent parents as well as a hypothesis from the literary side. Before I continue, I want to clarify that I am (in general) talking about fiction for children and young adults.

Literary reason:

Coming-of-age is a popular topic among fiction for teens and preteens, mainly because they are going through it themselves. That being said, I think a huge factor of “coming-of-age” is finding yourself through independence. This is one of the main reasons I believe parents aren’t included in fiction, whether that is through death or absence, but another reason includes freedom. I know. I know. I sound horrible for saying freedom in regards to an absent parent, but I don’t mean “freedom” as a good thing. I mean it as a driving force for a character to venture outside of their home, to go on adventures, to strive to survive on their own. If they had a perfect family at home, this need for survival or adventure would be hard to justify. But I would like to point out one thing that others seem to forget to mention. Even if a character is an orphan or under other unfortunate circumstances, the character (usually) has a parental figure, and I think that is just as important as having a “real” parent in the story. To me, a “real” parent doesn’t have to give life to a child or adopt a child or anything in terms of a traditional definition. I believe a parent can be anyone who is the main guide and protector for a child. In that sense, I don’t believe we take parents out of fiction. I think we show readers that parents (guidance) can come from many places, which can be vital during a time in which young people are striving for independence outside the home.

From The Write Catch

From The Write Catch

Personal reason:

I am only including this section to give insight to an author’s reasoning behind it (rather than my above section that simply guesses as to why we find ourselves in those instances.) When it comes to dead or removed parents in fiction, I can relate to it. My mother died when I was 11, and my father was a traveling businessman. I hardly saw him growing up. In fact, I saw nannies more, and we never had the same one for long. Mainly because my brother and I were rather…well…angry might be the best way of saying it. The only time we did have another parent in the house was my stepmother, and she was only married to my dad for a year before they were divorced, and we definitely didn’t get along. Whew. Is that enough personal information? I don’t necessarily have a problem sharing it, even if it makes others uncomfortable, because it was my life. My life is much better now. But it’s hard for me to imagine a teenage-life with parents being actively involved, so I personally write about orphans or absent parents because that was my life growing up, and my characters are going to reflect certain parts of my life, even when I don’t realize it. That being said, I still believe that parents are in my fiction (like Lyn with Sophia in Take Me Tomorrow or Jessica’s adoptive parents in The Timely Death Trilogy, not to mention Eric’s stepmother.)

So where am I going with this?

Sometimes authors aren’t writing about orphans or neglected kids for literary reasons. Sometimes they are writing from their heart, and – in reality – I have met more teenagers who can relate to absent situations than not. Having a “perfect” family is…let’s be real…impossible. No one is perfect. Everyone is human. And families will reflect that both in life and in fiction.

The reason that parents are generally dead and/or absent is simple: it happens. But that doesn’t mean we can’t add more parents to story lines. In my little opinion, including them is just as fine as not including them as long as the author is being true to the story.

Feel free to comment below with your reasons or thoughts on this topic! I know we’ve all at least read a novel or seen a Disney movie that includes this debate, so chat away,

~SAT

The Funniest, Strangest, and Creepiest Topics you have Googled

22 Jun

For everyone that has been eagerly awaiting, Take Me Tomorrow, Fiction Friday released a HUGE chuck of Chapter One, and you can read it today by clicking here. It includes fan art, inspired by that particular scene.

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came to the Facebook Event Nightmares, Dreams, Fantasies, and Visions yesterday afternoon. I had a lovely time speaking with everyone LIVE! But I especially want to thank author, Lisa Klass. Please visit her website to read excerpts from her novels, including her latest novels in the Baby Girl series.

Today, I wanted to have a little fun. A few weeks ago, I shared The Top 10 Seriously Awkward Conversations I’ve Had When People Hear I’m a Writer, and it got me to thinking about something else that I have happen to me on a regular basis. If you have a blog, then you know how the Dashboard page works. It delivers yours stats, tells you how many views you received, and even explains what viewers have Googled in order to find your website.

So I am sharing the funniest, strangest, and creepiest topics people have Googled to find my website, and I’m responding to them.

Funny:

“hilarious bad attitude” – Does this describe me or something?

“twelve nerds” – Just one actually. Me.

“Shannon a. Thompson is a fallen angel” – Stop it. You’re making me blush.

“shannon tatum in magic mike” – I think you mean Channing. You must have been super disappointed when you found me.

Creepy:

“shannon thompson june 23 birthday” – Um…Yes. My birthday is coming up. Thank you for remembering. I think?

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

“pictures taken at the thompson house w bogart” – You really love my cat as much as I do.

“Shannon Thompson bikini pic” – Please. Don’t.

“real pussy needed in life.” – You…You are quite vulgar. So are you, Google.

Strange:

“actors who end up working retail” – I’m not an actor. And I’ve never worked in retail. But okay. (Fun fact: I did work in a sport’s bar for four years.)

“shannon ann Thomason” – Shannon Ashlee Thompson? (Yes, “Ashlee” as in “Ashlee Simpson.”)

“shannon thompson had two kids by 18” – nope. I don’t have any kids. I just have cats.

Help Wanted:

“what we need in snowstorm” – probably a jacket. And a shovel. Maybe some apple cider.

“need to read the first paragraph of extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer” – Ah! One of my favorite books. Here’s a link to Amazon to preview the novel.

“is there alot of blood and gore in looper?” – Toward the end, yes.

“can i write something about me in a blog?” – Yes, you can. You now have my permission.

My Favorite:

“i told someone to follow their dreams” – You go! You’re the best!

Seriously, Google. I do appreciate the traffic, but why? I honestly don’t want to waste people’s time anymore than they want me to. (And – as much a I enjoy awkward moments – creepy moments are just…creepy.) I love blogging, and this is actually one of the aspects of blogging that causes a great amount of giggling. If you’re a blogger, do you have any moments like this?

~SAT

Author Announcements

22 Feb

As promised, I am here again – sharing the news as “Author Announcements.” Today is full of fun and excitement, but I am also sharing a minor change in what you can expect from my website at the end of every month. So, here we go:

1. I received my first book review of Seconds Before Sunrise

If you’re an author, then you know how exciting this moment is! I sent out a couple of review copies a little while ago, but I’ve been so nervous, and now those nerves are gone. Trials of a wanna-be-published writer by Heather B. Costa released the first review by writing, “The cataclysmic battle between the Shades and the Lights has unexpected consequences and is a showdown in which not everyone will survive. Who lives and who dies, and who is able to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause they believe in?”

Click here!

Click here!

You’ve read right – not everyone will survive book 2 – so be sure to read her full review by clicking here before checking out Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon (only $3.89 right now.)

Special thanks goes out to Heather B. Costa for reading and reviewing The Timely Death Trilogy.

2. I am now doing three kinds of posts at the end of each month on separate days. You can expect to read these three kinds in this order every month:

  • Website Wonders – websites that I share on my author FB page as well as other ones I come across – like this one I did last month. These include websites for writers and readers as well as inspiring articles and other fun places to be.
  • Entertainment Reviews – I did my first one of these last month. It’s where I post a VERY short review on the main entertainment pieces I came across that month. I mention movies, books, music, and more.
  • Monthly Recap – this will be the first month that I post this. Since I post every other day, I realize that not everyone gets a chance to read everything, not to mention all of the new followers that jump in halfway through the month. From now on, you can expect all of those month’s post to be posted in a list with a short description at the end of the month. It’s my way of re-sharing important posts in case you missed them and/or wanted to see them. Think of it as a fun, catch-up day. I really had to fight the urge to call it a “ketchup” day, because I love ketchup. Hmmm….maybe I will call it a ketchup day…

3. On February 25, I begin my 30-Day Countdown for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise. This will mainly take place on my author Facebook Page. (But I’ll probably share some fun games and quotes here as well.) I recommend you join me on Facebook, because it’s going to be a lot of fun! I promise it won’t be a bunch of ads. In fact, some of it might reveal some more fantastic writing websites to help you out. 😀

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

I’m REALLY looking forward to the future. After my personal posts last week, I can admit that I felt really drained and very nervous about my future plans, but this week I was energized again, and I’m more than ready for March! Dare I say it? I feel like we’re only seconds away from my next release.

Seconds Before Sunrise – here we come. 

~SAT

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