Tag Archives: Google+

A Writer’s Best Friend is Google

18 Nov

As an author, I LOVE helping fellow writers. In fact, I encourage writers to message me whenever they want with whatever questions they have. But don’t forget, folks.

Google is your best friend.

Recently, maybe due to NaNoWriMo, I’ve received A LOT more messages than usual. The most common one: “How can I get my book published?”

When I search “How can I get my book published?” on Google, the first three articles are actually pretty legit. One is about how to self-publish on Amazon. Another is a list of self-publishing tips by Forbes Magazine. The third is a step-by-step guide on how to get traditionally published. (No results were vanity presses, yay!) My favorite article that popped up toward the top was Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published by Jane Friedman.

If the writers who had emailed me had Googled their question first, they would’ve had these amazing articles at their fingertips…and as much as I wish I could deliver long, thoughtful pieces every time someone messaged me, I simply don’t have the time. I will ALWAYS try to point you in the right direction, but honestly, Google is often better.

Whether I’m researching publishing news or searching for information I’ll use in my books, Google is almost always open on my computer.

Don’t get wrong, though. I get it. I do. Publishing is hard. And there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming/contradictory/seemingly impossible to navigate on your own. But guess what? 

Learning how to navigate your publishing journey is going to be key to your success.  

Why do I say that? Because I’ve been there. Publishing has confused the hell out of me, too. And I still have days where I get confused, because aspects of publishing constantly change. Knowing how to research and determine what is true/false/helpful/scam is going to save you a lot of time and pain. Asking others might not always work, because others also fall for false information and scams, so you need to be able to sift through information to form your own opinions. But don’t worry. You don’t have to navigate everything alone.

No one can get a book published by themselves. It takes a team to get a book from an idea to a draft to an editor’s pick to a novel on a shelf. There’s beta readers, proofreaders, sensitivity readers, reviewers, and more that will help you get from step one to step infinity. So you will need writer friends. You will even need their help. But before you message an author/editor/publisher, try to answer the question yourself. Why? Because you’ll probably find the answer to “How do I get my book published?” but then come across publishers that—no matter how much you research—you’re still unsure about. THAT is the perfect time to message a fellow writer (preferably a writer who is associated with said publisher) and ask them if they recommend that house.

If you are reaching out, specifics are a lot easier to answer. “Would you recommend this publisher?” is easier for me to give my opinion on than when I’m asked “What type of publishing should I go for?” A lot of questions I’m asked are, quite frankly, not answerable by anyone other than that writer. Choosing how to publish is a very personal choice. I can’t make that decision for you, no matter how much I want to help.

Show initiative in your pursuit of publication. Be brave. Research. But don’t read this article and think you can never reach out ever again.

If you were about to message me about how to publish, I won’t bite your head off. (Maybe just your fingers.) And I’ll still try to point you in the right direction—though there are lots of directions to consider.

Here are some of my favorite resources for writers.

Writer’s Digest: The go-to online resource for writers. If you’re starting out, set a goal to read a couple articles once a week.

Publishers Marketplace: This lists current sales and other important publishing news. Some pages on this website cost money, so if you can’t afford it, sign up for Publisher’s Lunch, which is free.

Janet Reid: She blogs every day about various topics and creates an amazing community of writers to rally behind. I still read her blog every day. It’s how I start my morning.

Pub Rants: A blog by Nelson Literary Agency. One of my all-time favorites. Her Agenting 101 class caught my eye in 2006, and I’ve been following it ever since.

BookEnds Literary Blog: Another blog from a literary agency. They talk about lots of topics as well, but mainly about getting agents and the publishing process afterward.

Query Shark: For learning how to query.

Query Tracker: For keeping track of querying. (This website is free, but you can also pay $25 per year to look at extra information.)

An Alliance of Young Adult Authors: Lots of helpful tips from fellow YA writers, whether you’re self-publishing or going traditional.

Oh! And right here. I try to blog about various writing and publishing topics every single Saturday. Use the search bar at the top of this page to look up topics I’ve discussed in the past. (Because, trust me, I’ve been blogging since 2012, I’ve probably covered it.)

If you have a topic you want to see me blog about, I always take suggestions. I’ll even blog about a topic I’ve discussed before if the article is outdated and/or not detailed enough. (And, yes, you can send the suggestion via email.)

But while you’re online, I suggest opening Google and becoming best friends again.

I think you’ll love the friendship more than you know.

~SAT

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#MondayBlogs: The Thing About Author Interviews

25 May

Intro:

If you’ve been following me for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention Jonas Lee. He’s a fantastic author—both as a writer and as a supportive participant in the Indie community. I’ve even had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed via Google+ and appearing later on his YouTube channel (which you can watch here), and I make it a point to always listen to his latest interviews. That was why I chased him down and asked him to write today’s post. Jonas Lee discusses the importance of interviewing authors . . . and he’s also open for authors to sign up for an interview on his channel! For interview requests, please email Jonas Lee at JL.Fiction@gmail.com, and tell him I sent you. But if for some reason, you need more convincing, (wink), read his post below. I highly recommend talking to this wonderful author!

#MondayBlogs The Thing About Author Interviews

Who in the hell would want to know more about me? That’s the general thought I had when I first received a request to do an interview. Then, I was inwardly squealing with delight, Someone wants to know more about me! Now, I’m not famous (yet) so it felt a little weird to answer questions about my writing style and advice to give to other aspiring authors at the time. The thing is, most people who want to publish a novel, never do. It’s not because they are bad writers or can’t deliver a good story. It’s because they get to that proverbial edge of the cliff, overlooking the ocean and just…can’t…jump.

It’s friggin terrifying! Leaping with your work in hand off into the Indie Ocean (I should trademark that). In the water there are thousands of other authors. Some swimming, others floating. Some are making enough noise to be seen by anyone while some very worthwhile and prolific authors are content treading water. We all want rescued and by that I mean we want our stories heard. The best way to do that is getting attention and swimming together. How do you do that?

Networking is the new game, my friends. Swimmers in the Indie Ocean have an almost secular bond we don’t fully understand. Simply utter the word and you have a brother or sister in arms. We all fight the same struggle and essentially bleed the same blood. So, we band together and interview one another. We review each other’s books and throw out nods, tags, mentions, hashtags, recommendations and whatever we can in the spirit of fellowship.

Why are interviews seemingly important? They deliver a message, plainly. It’s your message through the eyes and pages of another author/blogger/reviewer. It’s a glimpse into Oz behind the curtain. Putting a face or a personality to the name that created a work of other worlds or situations is almost more than words can capture. I love reading interviews by my favorite authors and especially thankful to call some of those authors my friends now, present company included. Plus, beyond the stories we create, we have our own stories of getting there and how we came up with them to begin with. Interviews are like the Extra content on DVDs/BluRay movies.

Me, personally, I love answering questions and I tried some 2-dimensional Q&A’s of my own. I started doing something in the spirit of a stepping outside my comfort zone. I began interviewing other authors on camera…live. I’ve had a few hiccups thus far, but overall, I’m not doing too shabby. My whole purpose was to shine a light on authors and soon to be published authors who are out there swimming in the Indie Ocean. Putting voices to faces and personalities to the writers who create some fantastic worlds is my goal. Plus, I’ve made some great friends and I look forward to making many more.

Bio:

jonas002Jonas Lee was handcrafted from the area around the Black Hills of South Dakota. Living in the ever-changing climate with his wife and daughter, he likes to keep his mind occupied with entertaining stories and thought provoking scenarios. A child of the 80’s, his imagination has always been rampant with thoughts of time travel, other dimensions, and the fight of good versus evil. As such, you can see how prevalent those thought are in his stories.

Jonas is the author of The Legend of Carter Gabel series about a young boy who is “afflicted” with the genetic disease of spontaneous time travel. Carter soon realizes how his illness has many other side-effects and the situations surrounding his life and those like him are about to take a turn for the dangerous. If the snarky humor doesn’t grab you, the plot should do the trick.

Books: A Time to Reap and A Time to Live

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~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

How to Create a YouTube Channel and Video for Free

5 Apr

 First, I want to thank this beautiful couple for sending me this photo of them reading The Timely Death Trilogy together. They even posed as Jessica on the cover of Minutes Before Sunset and Eric on the cover of Seconds Before Sunrise. If you have a photo with any of my novels, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. It makes my day! (Even if it’s on your Kindle!) I will share it, your review, and your website if you would like.

coupleword

Seconds, The Examiner released 3-minutes book reviews: ‘Seconds Before Sunrise’ explores ‘chaos within destiny’. Lionel Green is a wordsmith, and his review reads beautifully, stating, “Thompson explores the humanity of Eric and Jessica so thoroughly in ‘Seconds Before Sunrise’ that the reader forgets the two teens are actually powerful supernatural beings. Thompson also understands no matter how inevitable destinies, fates and prophecies are, when love is introduced into the equation, chaos often ensues.” Read the entire review here. Spoiler alert.

Michael Noll at Read to Write Stories also released the interview I did with him. If you read his, “How to Write A Love Story” this is a wonderful extension. You can see why I chose Kansas as a setting as well as my advice for networking by clicking here.

I was actually going to post something else today, but I received so many emails from my fellow authors about my YouTube channel that I decided this was the most important topic I could possibly post about. I am here to help, after all, and I love it when I receive questions and suggestions for my blog because this blog is here to help and connect with you!

So, I am going to explain how I created my YouTube channel as well as the video I made. Granted, I am brand new at this, and I still have a lot that I want to improve on, but I can hopefully share some shortcuts, so you don’t have to spend as many hours researching as I did. I will explain iMovie, Photobooth, Pixlr, and many other aspects like creating an outro.

Step One: Creating the YouTube Channel 

I have a Google+, so all I had to do was log on that way and go to YouTube. After that, I went to the top, clicked on my name, and then My Channel. This post is where I started: Channel Art – YouTube: However, don’t download the template. It doesn’t fit. It is designed for T.V. viewing. I would suggest designing your YouTube channel art to fit for YouTube because it will adjust for everything else. Many artists suggest using Gimp, but that requires a download, so I used Pixlr Editor, which is completely free, and it doesn’t requite a download. You can use it to start off as a template, upload a photo, and then click “Edit, free transform” to size whatever picture to the size you need. During design, by aware of your thumbnail and the space on the right where your links will be. Most templates do not mention this, and it can cause you to take up more time because you’ll have to adjust it. As you can see, mine is designed so that you can see my face and links without anything getting blocked out too much. (I am planning on changing it.) Add your links via your Dashboard, because YouTube no longer allows videos to link to any websites outside of YouTube, so this will come in handy during your outro later on, and you cannot change your overall background. That’s no longer allowed in the 2014 version.

channel

Step Two: Creating Your Video 

I did not go out and buy a camera, although I am planning to. I just cannot afford that right now, and I think many can relate to that. So I used Photo Booth via my MacBook Pro. With the right lighting, this works. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it works if you’re on a small budget like I am. Record many versions of your video. Trust me: you want many recordings to work with later during editing.While shooting your movie, I am going to suggest that you include long pauses between sentences or topics, because this will help you when you’re editing. Be sure not to move your camera unless necessary because this will also help. I moved the movies to iMovie, which is also already on my MacBook Pro. I am a bit technologically confused, so I used How to Import Videos from Photo Booth to iMovie to do this. Then, I used How do I edit a video in iMovie to understand the basics. From there, I also knew I wanted a censor for my cursing, so I used this: iMovie censor effect. Once I was done with that, I knew I wanted an outro – like an intro but for the ending of your video. If you watch YouTube videos, then you know what this is. It’s that little box that shows previous films as well as links to other videos. To create this, I used How to Make an Outro. As you know, YouTube no longer allows you to link away from YouTube, so you’re going to be linking back to your channel, which is why you NEED those links to be on your home page. To add annotations I used the same video, How to Make an Outro, because he includes this at the end. Again, he uses GIMP, but you can create your own outro (instead of using a template) with Pixlr Editor.

My outro - without the previous video

My outro – without the previous video

Step Three: Upload Your Video and Share It

Believe it or not, this gets pretty complicated, because the visibility, sound, and everything else can get out of sync with YouTube requirements, so I used this: iMovie to YouTube Tutorial. I also used How to export in iMovie ’11 for uploading to YouTube, because it can matter what version you have, especially since YouTube changes their requirements a lot. Personally, I uploaded it as “Private” so I could add the annotations, and then I released it through “public” later. Be sure to add those SEO terms to your video as well as your channel, and connect it with your other sites, like Google+. This will help.

Now you have your video online. 

I know this was fast and a lot of information, but I hope it’s at least a starting place for your videos and channel.

In other news, thank you for your continuous support. As I said on my Facebook author page the other day, I’ve been struggling a lot due to my release. I have explained this before in One of my “Lows” as an Author. Although releases are always positive and uplifting, they take a tremendous amount of energy out of me, and it’s difficult for me to bounce back. But all of your love and encouragement has been helping me so much! I wish I could express my gratitude through this blog post but I could write about it forever. Instead, I just want to say that I love you all so much, and I am sending each and every one of you a hug through the internet today. Thank you.

~SAT

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