Tag Archives: Instagram

Book Marketing Woes

31 Jul

Marketing is a word authors either embrace or want to stoke in the fire, but one aspect is universal: It’s necessary.

Whether you’re self-published, published with a small press, or published by a HUGE publishing house, authors have to take on some of the marketing efforts in order for their book to be as successful as it possibly can be. This could mean being present on social media, attending conferences, or purchasing ads. This could also mean spending more time marketing than an author would ever want to. In fact, I work as a social media marketer for authors and publishers. I know how much goes into it because I market all day long. So, trust me, I hear your woes…and today, we’re talking about them.

I’m only using this photo, because I love Scrabble, not going to lie.

I Don’t Like It

Many writers don’t. Unless you’re like me who has a background in marketing, many creative types struggle (or completely reject) the idea of marketing and publicity. And guess what? I understand feeling awful when considering a tweet schedule or a Facebook ad. My tips? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Stick to platforms you actually like. If that means you’re only on Twitter, fine. Tweet away. Stay off platforms you hate, because your readers will be able to sense it. Then talk about what you like. Love Outlander? Great! Write episode reviews. Join fandoms. Just be yourself. Marketing often comes down to just making connections and being you, not selling your book. I mean, who buys a book from a tweet that says “Buy this today! #mybookisawesome #linkbelow #IwannabeJKRowlingoneday”? No one. People buy books because they love that author or their ideas. Share you with the world. Related Article: Authors, Be Yourself

I Don’t Have Time

Just like writers who say they don’t have time to write, guess what? No one has time to write (or market). The key is making time. Even if you only have one hour a week, take that time to schedule your tweets for the rest of the week through Hootsuite or similar companies. Or just be present when you can. If you have the funds, hire a personal assistant to take some of the workload off of your shoulders. Personally, though, I only post when I can talk to fans. Example? If you take a really close look at my social media, you might notice that my photo posts are almost always at 3PM. Why? Because that’s when I wake up. (I work the nightshift.) My photos are generally taken the day before, so my posts are rarely “live.” However, I post when I can so that I can talk to my followers once posted. This also prevents my posts from interrupting my precious writing time. Example? If I post a photo of me writing at a café, I don’t want that to be live because I’ll use my writing time to talk to fans. But if I save that photo for tomorrow afternoon, I can use that photo and talk to them when I am available to chat (and protect that precious writing time while I have it). The key is figuring out what works for you (and when). Related Article: The Truth Behind an Author’s Instagram

Lack of Funds 

This is a big one I hear from clients and companies, and it’s such a big one because it’s essential to success. What do I mean by that? You need to know your budget, and you need to stick with it. If, for instance, your self-publishing budget for the year is $2000, but you spend all of that on ads, how will you buy cover art for your upcoming release? Where are you going to earn that back? Are you going to earn that back? Being honest about your financial situation is important. Advertisements and traveling can rack up a bill…fast. Be careful about what you spend and where. Apply for grants and scholarships. Volunteer at conferences. Ask for help from other authors. Example? Guest post on one another’s blogs or switch mailing lists for a day. It’s free and a great way to increase exposure. Keep your head up, and don’t let your lack of funds bother you. There will always be more opportunities, and support is all around you. Related Articles: The Struggling (Sometimes Starving) WriterHow to Create Book Teases on a Small Budget

Social Anxiety or Other Health Issues

Everyone’s health is unique to their situation. The key is trying to find outlets that are just as unique as you. Don’t automatically count yourself out. Research accommodations. For instance, if you have social anxiety or find leaving the house difficult, online conferences are now available (and growing in popularity). Don’t be afraid to reach out to the event coordinator if you’re interested in attending but you’re not sure how you can. Talk to fellow writers. And don’t feel guilty if you need to take time away from writing or social media to take care of yourself. Writing will always be there, and your health matters. You are awesome. You belong. Related Articles: Writers, It’s Okay to Log Out & Taking a Writing Break and Why It’s Important

I know there are a lot of issues that come up with marketing your book, but I hope this was a solid place to start. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I’ll try to leave a quick tip. And if you have a topic you want me to cover, feel free to suggest one any time. I love hearing from you!

~SAT

Writers, Stop Comparing Yourselves

20 Feb

Recently, I finished my first manuscript of 2017. It was also my first pantsing novel…and a novel that I’m truly excited about. So excited, in fact, that I think it fueled me to write more than usual and share more information about a WIP than I normally do. If you follow my social media, you might have seen my adventure as I shared my growing word count over the last two months. It was a fast first draft. And wonderful, too! But when I shared that I finished, I received a few messages: How do you write so fast? Should I be able to reach that word count every day? Is it even a good draft? How many drafts do you write? What do you recommend I do?

All reasonable questions. Don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy to answer them, too, but at its core, the answer is simple: My writing methods will not be your writing methods, and your writing methods won’t be mine. You have to find what works for you.

I never share word counts or inspiration boards or sneak peeks, because I want you to compare yourself to me. I share those things, because they are fun—and writing can be lonely and hard work. You see “The End” on my Instagram, while I see two months without weekends and wayyyy too much caffeine in my blood (and maybe one mental breakdown in between Chapter Sixteen and Chapter Twenty-Eight).

Taking a small breather to have fun on Instagram with fellow writers and readers is often the only breather I get all day. And I love seeing other writers share those milestones, because we’re in this together. We love the same thing: words. And it’s a delight to share them. (Especially after said mental breakdown between Chapter Sixteen and Chapter Twenty-Eight.)

That being said, I understand that social media sharing can bum other writers out. It can make a writer feel like they’re not doing enough, accomplishing enough, or sharing enough. The comparison bug hits writers a lot. And trust me, it isn’t worth it. You’ll only end up in a pity-party hosted by your worst inner critic.

I mean, does this even look fun?

I mean, does this even look fun?

Kick that critic out of your writing office right meow. Why? Because no writing journey is the same. No story is the same. No writer is either.

The key is figuring out what works for you, and then moving forward every day to the best of your ability.

That’s it.

Keep writing, keep reading, and keep trying. It will work—though I will admit that it will be difficult. You will absolutely struggle and get rejections and feel like giving up. We all have felt bad/sad/hopeless at some point in our writing journey. (And more than once.) That fact sometimes helps more than anything.

Comparison, in practice, isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes seeing a writer friend of mine hit a huge goal pushes me to sit back down to achieve my own goals. Often, when I’m feeling down, I research my favorite authors and read about their writing journey to see how they struggled and achieved and kept on keeping on. That could be considered comparison, but at its core, it isn’t comparison. It’s inspiration. By reading about others’ journeys, I’m reminded that we all have our own future ahead of us. I am who I am and I’m trying to get to where I want to be, and there are millions of authors who did the same before me. It’s inspiration. And hope. And fun.

But comparison is a precarious edge—one that anyone can slip over easily at any moment.

Always remind yourself that you are you, and this is your journey.

So next time you see someone hit a word count or get a publishing deal or finish a first draft, and you feel that sting of jealously/resentment/exhaustion, take a step back and relax. (And kick that inner critic out.)

You don’t need to write 1,000 words every day. You don’t need to go to a million conferences or garner a movie deal before the age of 32.

You just gotta be you.

Keep writing, and keep achieving goals your way, and trust me, you’ll get there.

You’re already on the way.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs My Average Day as an Author

1 Aug

The average day as an author varies from writer to writer, but I think there’s a huge misconception that we wake up, write all day, and fall asleep at the end of the night with thousands of words ready for print. In reality, most authors—yes, even The New York Times Best Sellers—work day jobs. Writing is our second full-time gig. And I’m not an exception.

3 PM

My Twisted Clock

I wake up at 3 PM. Why? I work a night shift, so I don’t get to bed until about 6 AM. I also work opposite days, meaning Sunday-Tuesday is my weekend. This can cause some awkwardness online, because some have assumed I’m ignoring them on the weekends when I am, in fact, working. But I do work from home, so I can sometimes check in on my author life during my lunch break and dinner break. This is also why you see my #MidnightBaking posts a lot. While it’s midnight for you, it’s dinner time for me.

4 PM – MIDNIGHT

My First Job

Honestly, I work from 4 PM to midnight as an editor, social media marketer, and anything else you might find on my Services page. I love it. I absolutely love reading authors’ works, talking to fellow writers, and helping those with social media, because social media is something I honestly enjoy, hence why I blog three days a week. As an author, I also use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodreadsMailChimp, Wattpad, and YouTube on a regular basis. But all that is generally done in my next step.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

MIDNIGHT – 4 AM

My Second Job

I’m an author. Finally. If I’m not completely exhausted from work—and I get all my housework done—this is where I write. But this is also the only time I have for marketing, so I often spend about a half of the time writing articles, sending out personal emails, researching books, and more. If I’m too tired, maybe I just read the current book on my nightstand. But I tend to write in this time period. If I can get one chapter finished and outline my next chapter for the next day, I am satisfied. It was a successful day.

4 AM – 6 AM

My Not-So-Chill Chill Time

I try to relax here, though I’m really bad at it. This is where I should be reading instead of writing (or even watching TV). Something—anything—to calm down my writer’s mind (or I won’t sleep at all), but more often than not, I’m curled up on the couch with my notebook jotting down more ideas as they come to me. I might even get back on the laptop. I find myself pulling 12-hour shifts (or longer) on a regular basis. This is probably why I’m addicted to coffee.

6 AM – 3 PM

My Very Restless Rest

Magnificent, majestic sleep.

Okay. So I have night terrors a lot. Not so majestic. But, hey, it helps inspire my writing!

P.S. It’s really HARD to sleep during the day. Lawnmowers. Sunlight. Truck engines. You name it, it has woken me up.

IN THE END

Writing for a living, more often than not, is not our living, but we do live for it. I love finding time between gigs to sneak in a few words or tweet back and forth with awesome readers, but I’m mainly working a regular gig like everyone else. And, hey! I love my day job. I honestly think my day job helps me be a better writer, and I get to read all day. It’s a dream come true, right?

If anyone is curious, I’m currently writing this article on my weekend. It’s Sunday, July 17, at 10 PM, so more than two weeks before you will be reading this. But it’s some of my only free time to blog, so I write ahead of time since I know work can get unpredictable and crazy. Even better? Now, I have time to go write.

Welcome to my writer’s life. 😉 

Original covered my average day as a writer in 2013.

~SAT

wattpadBlakeBlake’s origin story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. If you’ve ever wondered how a baby boy ended up in the Northern Flock, read his story here. I’m expecting to release Ami’s story from the Southern Flock on August 12. I’m also working on the sequel – July Thunder/Lightning – now!

I hope you’re reading the Bad Bloods series! Book 1 is only .99¢!

November Rain

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November Snow

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#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#WW The Truth Behind An Author’s Instagram

4 May

I have a confession. As an #authorofinstagram, I post daily pictures of my writing life that are more or less fictional stories themselves. Sure, my cats are real and that coffee was definitely mine, but not all of my posts are live (although a fair portion of them are), and the mood I describe might not necessarily be accurate.

Whaaaaat?

Don’t judge me. It’s called marketing for a reason.

When I post: #AmReading

reading

What I’m actually doing: Flipping through #bookstagram and #bibliophile to see what everyone else is reading so I can add more books to my already ridiculously long TBR list. Oh, and reading. I’m probably reading. I’m also probably reading indoors with pajamas on. Not in the fall leaves or the snow or whatever else I took a picture of me doing hours ago.

When I post #CoffeeAddict

coffee

What I’m actually doing:

Losing my mind. No. Really. I drink too much coffee a day. Sometimes, my fingers shake. (And it doesn’t even wake me up.) I’m an addict, addict. I drink it because I can’t function without it…which means every coffee picture you see is never my first cup of coffee that day. I’m like that guy from the McDonalds commercial who can’t talk to anyone until he has his coffee. I’m having a coffee right now. (Or am I?) Since coffee means I’m losing my mind, coffee also means that I’m about write, because writing and losing your mind go hand-in-hand.

What I post: #AmWriting  writing

What I’m actually doing:

Staring at what I wrote last week and wondering why the hell I thought any of it was a good idea. Oh, wait. That’s not that bad. Okay. We can just rewrite this, and then…OH! (Insert fellow #amwriting poster here) is writing, too! I wonder how their day is going. *messages fellow author, geeks out for ten minutes, forgets everything* And when I finally get back to writing, something funny better not happen, or I will stop to tweet about it. This is a vicious cycle. If I manage to stay focused, writing might be done in a coffee house—that sees me way too often—or in my office—where my cats see me way too often (hence why they’re in most of my photos, but we’ll get to them in a minute…)

When I post #Catstagram

catsWhat I’m actually doing:

They’re so cute, right? Right? They’re perfect little cuddly gremlins…I mean, cats. There is a reason I call my cats gremlins. As soft and furry and sweet as they appear on my Instagram—trust me—we have our moments around here. Between my desk’s wires (Boo Boo’s favorite thing to tackle out of the wall) and Kiki’s ongoing nemesis battle with Bogart (no, really, they fight all the time), I am constantly chasing them in and out of my office. They attack pens. They attack papers. They attack dangling headphone wires. And sometimes, they throw up on my feet. But hey, that’s love.

In the end, you witness a lot of pieces of my author life, but pieces are pieces. Writing is hard. Being an author is hard. It’s not all coffee and cats and reading and writing. We have our ups and downs and everything in between. Despite all of today’s truth, I do love this crazy, catlady, writing life, and I hope you’ll still enjoy it when I share pieces of it with you on Instagram. Yes, that is a link to my Instagram. Feel free to click it. 😉

~SAT

teaser11The first Bad Bloods teaser released! You can expect a new one to release every #TeaserTuesday via…you guessed it…my Instagram. I’d love to connect with you on there, so feel free to send me a message, and be sure to pre-order Bad Bloods by clicking the links below. It’ll only be available for 2.99 for a limited time, so take advantage of the CTP sale while you can.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods today!

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In other news, Clean Teen Publishing is about to host an AWESOME giveaway/release party THIS Friday on Facebook. Click the link to check out the CTP Marvelous May Reads Release Party. I will be there!

13102643_1079877955384707_1432184914415101411_n

safe_image.phpAlso, don’t forget, the first book in The Timely Death Trilogy is currently FREE! I wanted to give a shout out to Instagram’s Devyn T. for drawing some fan art. Feel free to send me your art any time! I love seeing it. In fact, it makes my day.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WW The Emotions of Listing A Book For Free

19 Aug

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert in this. In fact, I’ve never put up my book for free before. This is all new to me! (How exciting.) But, yes, the first novel in The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now up for free. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, did this to celebrate the upcoming release of the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, which releases August 25.

Whew. What a summary of events.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I felt like I failed. Like I failed my publisher, my readers, and myself. I’m not even sure why I felt this way, but if I could think about you in relation to my books, I thought, “Well, that’s it. My book didn’t sell, so my publisher dropped it to the big ol’ ZERO. I failed.” Cue my tiny and sad violin.

emotions

Emotions. So many emotions.

This was my initial reaction anyway. And it was a silly reaction. In fact, my publisher didn’t make Minutes Before Sunset free because it wasn’t selling. It was selling. Still is. They simply made it free to celebrate. That is it. My own crazy thoughts were just my own crazy thoughts, and I think it’s important, as an artist, to keep those emotional thoughts at bay until you have time to see what actually happens. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m only two days into this free-promo, and I’m loving it!

Within twelve hours, Minutes Before Sunset hit the bestseller category for young adult science fiction, and within 24 hours, Minutes Before Sunset became #5 in Science Fiction. #5! We also hit #7 in Paranormal/Urban Fiction and the top 500 Kindle books overall. It even appeared in the article The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books On Amazon, and the downloads kept coming in as more and more readers shared, liked, and commented on my one Facebook post about it.

5&7

I was dumbfounded.

Here I was, thinking I was devalued, when—in reality—it connected me with additional readers who may not have found me otherwise. Lesson learned? I was too concentrated on MY value and not on the READERS’ value. I can admit that, can’t I? I’m only human, after all. A silly writer human (who really loves cats), and now, this silly cat-loving writer-human definitely suggests running a free-promo. You’ll never know how it’ll make you feel unless you try.

On a fun side note, someone attempted to hack my Instagram this week. I regained access, so expect more cat and coffee adventure pics soon. I also had the utmost pleasure of participating in fight research for a novel. I might write a post about that soon, but the trainer gave me a wooden spoon for a weapon. It was awesome.

#DontMessWithTheSpoon

~SAT

Now for FIVE giveaway announcements for hitting #5 in science fiction! 

Book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now free everywhere! Here are the links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I hope you check it out before the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in less than a week. (Less than a week!) On that note, you can pre-order the sequel here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The last installment releases September 15. (So almost no wait time. Yay!)

memoryjar

Jessica’s memory jar! I’m giving two away.

If you love Goodreads Giveaways, here is the link for winning a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise, but don’t let that make you forget that you can win another Seconds Before Sunrise paperback (as well as many other paperbacks and prizes) during the CTP Find Your Next Read FB Party on August 28. The little jar on the right is a sneak peek of what you can win. It’s called a “memory jar,” but you have to read Minutes Before Sunset to know why Jessica needs one!

I’m not done either. (Told you there was a lot of giveaways going on.) You can still sign up to support the release day of Seconds Before Sunrise on August 25 to win a signed bookmark and a swag pack from me! Simply join the campaign and shoot me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com, letting me know you’ve joined. By following my newsletter, you’ll receive monthly opportunities like this.  

Last but definitely not least, the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card, a bookmark swag pack, and a CTP eBook of your choice. Here are the latest places you can enter: If You Could Be Any of Your Characters (guest post on Black Words-White Pages), spotlight on Girls With Books, and a spotlight on The Bookie Monster.

I hope you win some prizes during this celebration! 

Stay Dark and Lovely,

~SAT

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

18 Apr

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

First and foremost, I would like to thank The Acid Oasis for asking me to interview Bogart. I immediately knew that I HAD to do it, and today is the day I share the results. But – first – a little background on this fuzzy little (okay, he’s a bit chunky) feline.

A little over four years ago, a terribly horrible person ditched Bogart and three other black cats. In a closed box. On the side of a highway. He was two months old. Thankfully, a person who was the opposite of the first person (meaning, this next person is an amazing and wonderful human being) pulled over on that highway and saved the kittens by taking them to Wayside Waifs. Two months later, Bogart became my family, and here we are today – catlady and cat – writing stories together every day.

bogartcharacterprofile

Bogart: A lovely introduction. Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon: Well, you did help me write it. How are you doing today?

Bogart: Hungry. As usual.

Shannon: We just ate.

Bogart: I get a treat for this, right?

Shannon: (pause) Sure.

Bogart: (finally sits) Great. Let’s get this started.

Shannon: What is it like to be an author cat?

Bogart: It’s tough work! I sit in Shannon’s lap most of the day, and when I’m not in her lap, I’m next to her. Even when she doesn’t know it, I’m watching – making sure she doesn’t make a mistake, critiquing every word she types, and let me tell you, there are A LOT of words, and I keep Shannon in check.

Shannon: Why are you referring to me as Shannon when I’m right here?

Bogart: It’s for dramatic effect. (pause) And this is exactly what I mean. Without me, you wouldn’t even understand the meaning of drama. And who can have literature without drama?

Shannon: (blinks) Fair enough.

Bogart: So, as I was saying (yawn mixed with a meow), this is tough work. When Shannon makes a mistake, I jump onto her laptop. She doesn’t like it very much. I get thrown off a lot, you know? But the best partners have to have disagreements sometimes. Still, I think she knows I’m right because she ends up staring at her computer for a long while after. Sometimes, she even shuts it down altogether.

Shannon: So, what happens then? When you’re off the laptop?

Bogart: The inspiration, of course! Recently, for instance, I acquired two new friends, Boo Boo and Kiki. I’m sure you’ve seen us on Instagram. (leans in close, rubs face on recorder) We’re famous. (leans out) But Boo Boo and Kiki have been a great help. We set everything up, and the second Shannon comes into the room, we begin our masterpiece. There’s fighting and yelling and cuddling and sharing. An entire collection of emotions just for one plot, let me tell you.

Shannon: And how do I – er, I mean – how does Shannon react to these pieces?

Bogart: She loves them so much, she trips. (stretches) Sometimes, over Boo Boo, but mainly over me. I’m the star of the show, the big guy, the spark. (licks paw) It’s tough work, but the fight scenes in The Timely Death Trilogy wouldn’t be here without me.

Shannon: I thought Shannon wrote that before you two began collaborating.

Bogart: (ignores) What’s your next question?

Shannon: Ah. Right. (flips through notebook) Do you have any works of your own you’ll release? Anything by Bogart?

Bogart: Now that. (long purr) That is a great question. (sees water glass in front of him for the first time. Eyes go wide. Paw lifts up. He knocks it to the floor. Purr deepens.) I love the sound of water glasses hitting the floor. It’s the musical soundtrack of inspiration. Don’t you think?

Shannon: (stares at the mess) I need to clean that.

Bogart: Not now. Not now. (sits in lap and looks up with big, begging eyes to prevent movement) We were talking about my own story.

Shannon: (pets) Go on

Bogart: I do have my own stories. Many stories. Stories I’ve been piecing together for four long years. Stories of purr-fection and cat-astrophe and mew-tovation. But these things take time. A lot of time. And for now, I am enjoying my place – as a muse, a confidant, a kitten cat.

Shannon: Kitten cat?

Bogart: It’s a new spelling I’ve come up with – in reference to a cat that keeps their kitten qualities despite hardships – a cat that maintains their dreaming selves through adulthood, a cat that never gives up. (lifts face) I’m a kitten cat, and without me, Shannon would have a more difficult time with her dreams. Someone must encourage her – just as she encourages me with treats. (long pause)

Shannon: (throws treat)

Bogart: (eats treat) But, you see, we work together, and that’s a precious thing: an author kitten cat and his author, writing into the future. (pause) You could write a whole story on that.

Shannon: I already made a note.

Bogart: Great. We should get back to work.

Shannon: Agreed. (pets) Thank you for your time, Bogart.

Bogart: Thank you for the treat. (jumps down) Now open that laptop. We have books to write.

After the interview, Bogart and I got to work on the latest piece of fiction that will, hopefully one day, hit the shelves for readers. We worked all day and all night, only stopping for dinner, coffee, and treats. He purred and slept, but I know he kept his Halloween cat eyes on every word, just waiting for the opportunity to jump onto my laptop (to prevent mistakes, of course). When we finished our long day, we celebrated by talking some more. Bogart told me of the birds that taunted him, of the sunshine that warmed him, and of the toys he found beneath the couch. In his spare time, Bogart appears on Facebook and Instagram. He also models for donations. But he mainly looks forward to another day, full of writing and kitten cat adventures. It didn’t need to be said, but I found myself stating it anyway. I love Bogart very much.

~SAT

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.05.55 AMP.S. I was a guest blogger for Little Birdy Book Blog yesterday, and I talked about 5 lessons I learned since becoming an author. What was number 1? Being a reader is much more complicated now. Check it out by clicking here.

Website Wonders

29 May

Hi, everyone! For once, I’m not announcing anyone. I am back, and I am blogging! ::does a little dance even though you’re watching::

I am really happy to be back (obviously) and I am even happier that you all enjoyed the guest bloggers of May. Today is reserved for Website Wonders – all of the websites that I have obsessed over this month, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. The articles are organized into these topics: In the News, Writing Tips, For Readers, The Poets, Inspire, and For Fun and Laughter. All links will send you to the article.

Enjoy!

In the News:

As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish:  This article is first for many reasons. I’m really passionate about the publishing industry, and I want to see it succeed for everyone. I know. I know. Many have been taking Amazon’s side because everyone “hates” the big 5 – but shifting the power from 5 to 1 is not a good idea. Plus, preventing David Sedaris’ novels is never going to fly. Either is preventing Robert Galbraith. (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) But I’ll stop ranting here.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Book 4 Coming?: E.L. James is heating up the publishing world (and Kindles) again! Kind of. Photo included. Kind of.

Tim Burton to direct ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ slated for July 2015: Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. ::cue the creepy and delightful laughter:: I am a huge Tim Burton fan.

Writing Tips:

Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language:  This was really popular on my Facebook page. It’s an amazingly thorough list of different ways to describe body language based on emotions.

This Sentence Has Five Words: I can’t explain this because it would spoil the piece, but I definitely recommend it.

5 Editor’s Secrets to Help You Write Like a Pro

My friend sent me this

My friend sent me this

13 Wonderful Old English Words We Should Still Be Using Today

For Readers:

7 Historical Parallels to ‘Game of Thrones’: If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you will absolutely love this.

32 People Reveal The One Book That Blew Their Minds: My favorite novel is on here! Is yours?

For Lexophiles (lover of words): Read these sentences twice. You will love them.

From Random House

From Random House

33 More Things We’d Do if We Were Locked in a Bookstore Overnight: What would you do in Barnes & Noble?

Q&A with Cassandra Clare: I just finished City of Heavenly Fire last night :]

The Poets:

Words and Pictures by Grant Snider: This comic is hilarious and true!

He’s Counting Down from 21, and By the Time He Reaches 15, My Stomach was in Knots: These sort of poems live in the depths of your soul forever.

Inspire:

Top Ten Mythical Places

No Photoshop. These Are Real Animals! These models and their animals are fantastical.

12 Photos of the Strangest Weather Phenomena Ever Witnessed

These 22 Far Away Perspectives of Famous Places Will Change the Way You See Them Forever: Who doesn’t like a change in perspective?

Artist Turns Dead Old Watches into Creepy Mechanical Crawlies 

30 Awesome Photos from Iceland

From David Olenick

From David Olenick

For Fun and Laughter:

Which Magical Creature Are You? I am a Sphinx

20 Funny Cat Photos That Are Sure to Make You Smile

~SAT

Editing Tips

15 Apr

My publications picture has been updated:

All of my publications. :D

All of my publications. 😀

Thank you for your support. I am looking forward to adding to the collection as time continues forward. I also want to take a moment to thank Taking on a World of Words for uploading the picture below to Instagram. They received Minutes Before Sunset in the mail, and she shared the moment with me. These pictures mean a lot to me, so please check out her website.

instambs

As of right now, I am working on editing my next manuscript. (It’s not Death Before Daylight, but that is coming.) I am looking forward to revealing more details about my next manuscript in the future. However, that day is not today. It is tomorrow. (If that sentence seemed strange, there’s a reason for that. You just read my first hint, and that hint reveals a lot if you’ve been with me for a while…or are willing to search through some posts.)

Aside from that, working on this manuscript has reminded me of some editing techniques I have never shared before. Today, I’m sharing my methods that I consider to be unique. However, I will not be talking about the stereotypical ways to edit: read out loud, read backward, and read it again. Okay. We get it. Read it many times and read it in different ways. Having a beta reader and hiring an editor is obvious. I want to discuss editing beyond this because we neglect the unique methods writers use to rewrite and edit. We always talk about how writers all write differently, but we never talk about how writers edit differently. I will also be sharing comments from my Facebook author page.

So we are starting with a completed manuscript. It is written, and “The End” appears at the bottom. But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a new process. Depending on the writer and the story, this can be a place where someone completely rewrites a story or where someone just starts an editing job. I am going to write about editing as if we aren’t doing a complete rewrite. The first piece isn’t unique necessarily, but I need to explain it for the other pieces.

1. Create “Final” Notes

I call it “final” because it means you can’t change it after this. Writers have to make a decision, and they have to stick with it. Personally, I make dozens of “final” pages which I actually keep separate from one another so I don’t mix them up. These pages include a final background page for the characters history, a description page that includes physical, emotional, and habitual uses, and finalized maps, so I can make sure that all of my facts are lined up. On my description pages, I even include things like common speech patterns (like if they call a certain character by a nickname only when they are annoyed.) These pages are pages, not one page or one paragraph. I normally have these before I start writing, but – let’s be honest – things change while we write, so it’s often important to go back and make a clear decision on how old that side character was when she met the protagonist (and I check it every time it is brought up in the story, even if I’m pretty sure I’m right.) In my most recent manuscript, I actually kept numerous description pages, because their descriptions changed halfway through the story, but it’s completely up to you how detailed you want to be. I’m sort of a perfectionist, but I will share a story below that explains why I am that way and how these pages saved me.

2. Shoebox Method

I shared this on my author Facebook page, and that’s where I got the idea to write this blog post. I am not a writer who edits on my laptop. I can’t. I need the physical pages in front of me because I think it makes it easier to see everything. Because of this, I have a stack of papers that I must lug around. Most would suggest a three-hole-punch notebook or a folder. I slam my hand on my desk and scream, “Enough.” (For those who watched my poetry reading on YouTube, you might find that statement humorous.) This is what I use:

edittt

I use a sliding shoebox. I never have to punch holes, number pages, or worry about dropping my folder and causing a paper explosion of a disaster. The shoebox also fits other notes, like a dictionary or my “final” notes I was just talking about. Believe it or not, this is also a fantastic excuse to start a conversation in public with potential readers. Someone is bound to ask you why you have a shoebox with you. Take that minute to share your elevator speech and grab a business card out of your back pocket. You just meet a reader.

3. Love Your Office Supplies: Colored pens, sticky notes, etc.

Now that you have the manuscript in front of you (and hopefully a cup of coffee), you are staring at the black and white words with nervous excitement. I used to just grab a pen and go at it, but that turned out to be a mistake when I went back to see what I changed, moved, or corrected. I never use a black pen to edit. The black pen eventually becomes something my eyes skip over. I use red for grammatical errors I come across, but everything else gets its’ own color, too. For instance, I might assign a blue pen to mistakes in the characters – like if I got their history wrong or even if I want to check it later on – but I used purple when I want to move an entire paragraph or scene somewhere else. When I’m moving something, I use sticky notes to mark the place so I don’t forget. We, as writers, never know when we’ll have to take a break, so it’s best to have all the relevant notes in place for when we return. We can’t tell ourselves we will remember because we won’t always remember. Think of all those great ideas we had when we were away from our computers that we later cursed ourselves for because we didn’t write it down. You don’t want this to happen while you’re editing, so write away and write a lot. When I am moving a scene, I even put a check box next to it, so I can check it once I move it.

4. Act Your Scenes Out

Now, if you read my Facebook author page, author, Ryan Attard, said, “Read out loud. Act it out. If it FEELS right, then you’re set. Then, it’s just rereading to correct content.” I love that he said this because I participate in this in many ways. If you want to read more about it, I wrote Writing Tips: Method Acting a while back. I scream my dialogue at myself in the car. I jump around my room and pretend to be different characters. I use place-holders to see if the scenes work, meaning if the characters are facing in the correct directions. (This is where my maps come in handy.) I wouldn’t want my character to storm away to the kitchen by turning to the left when the kitchen should be to his right. Little things like this can matter. For instance, I had a reader realize that the kitchen in the Welborn house is on the second floor during the second novel, Seconds Before Sunrise. She actually went back to the first book, Minutes Before Sunset, to check it and found out that she had read over the information but it was there. If I had changed it, she would’ve caught it, and that would’ve looked like the world wasn’t real.

5. Here are some other answers from authors on my Facebook Author Page:

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

I asked, “Do you have any unique ways of editing? What makes it unique? How do you approach editing? This can be a content edit or a grammatical edit.” And here are some responses:

Anthony Stevens: After one or two content edits, where I try to assure a logical flow to the tale, I give it at least two days (sometimes a week) to simmer. When I’m ready, I take my time and slowly read it outloud to myself. Anytime I find myself stuttering or it just doesn’t sound right, I drop back a few paragraphs and try to sort out the problem. It has to sound right out loud before I’ll continue.

Nadia Skye NolanI have an editing checklist. It reminds me to eliminate passive voice and taglines as well as “Lazy descriptors.” I go through my writing and just cut away all the fluff, then I turn it over to my friends and family.

Alexis Danielle Allinson: I do the first couple of edits to weed out errors in my story line, add detail and such. Then I hand it to an editor who doesn’t balk about giving me his 2 cents worth so that the story can be better. We sometimes have lengthy discussions about things I have not written yet because he points out that even though each novel I write is its own story they are all interconnected and if I don’t have it plotted just right I will create a paradox that fan will never forgive me for.

Do you have any methods that stand out? Any advice? Be sure to share below. You might even win a chance to become a guest blogger.

~SAT

My Poem is Published

11 Apr

In case you didn’t see the update during my last blog post, my first podcast interview was posted. Click on The Lurking Voice to listen to it. The author, Ryan Attard, described it as, “Now, I’m not gonna spoil anything, but Shannon is one of those pure artistic souls with a dark side (Darth Shannon) and we talked about everything. And I mean everything.” I like Darth Shannon. I had a fantastic time, so I would love for you to have a laugh with us as you listen to it.

Next, PRLog sent out a new press release for Seconds Before Sunrise, so check it out by clicking here. It’s titled “Award-Winning Paranormal Fiction Author Publishes Second Book In The Timely Death Trilogy.” I found it all pretty exciting to see, because I have never had a press release until Seconds Before Sunrise came out, and I got two 😀

And I also want to take a moment to thank Sandra Danby for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Check out her award-winning blog of fiction, short stories, and everything on writing and reading.

It began after I wrote this blog post: Photography and Writing.

I had begun to miss photography again, so I joined Instagram to simply admire photographs from my cell phone. That’s when I began to follow Sofie Sund Photography. After admiring her stellar self-portraits, lined with hauntingly true quotes, she announced to her 193,000 followers that she had founded a magazine with four other artists. She also mentioned that submissions were open to photographers, drawers, and poets.

Naturally, I submitted. (Because, like my father always says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” – he generally refers this when speaking about the lottery. I, on the other hand, like to apply this to publishing by changing it to, “You can’t get published if you don’t submit.” So, yes, I submitted. 

Over time, I continued to follow them. I “liked” their Facebook page, and enjoyed their news when they announced that they had won two awards – best logo and best booth – for their sales’ team. I subscribed to their website, and I continued to watch from afar, eager to see who they would include in the first edition of their magazine.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

It was March 3 when I heard from them. At four in the morning, I can admit that I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was awake, taking pictures of the sunrise, and I received an email. LALUNA staff was congratulating me on my acceptance. One of my poems will be in their first issue. I couldn’t believe it because I truly admire the work of these young artists. While they are based out of Norway, I find the distance a beautiful and telling tale – we can be connected oceans apart. In fact, AEC Stellar Publishing has an author in Malta. Let’s just take a moment and really let that sink in. We live in a world where we can be published across the world.

It’s amazing.

I also believe that LALUNA Magazine stands for everything I believe in: a magazine dedicated to inspiring the youth.

My dream is to inspire young people to follow their dreams, so I could not be happier to be a part of this encouraging project.

Thank you to LALUNA Staff. 

In case you’re curious about my poem that is now published, it is titled “Regretful Memories.” It’s a standalone poem that has sat in my desk drawer for some time but has now found its time to be released. I wrote it during college, and I might do a reading on my YouTube channel so you can hear it, but you can buy the ebook of the magazine here or even check out a preview here. I’ve also added a new page to my website for it, which you can visit by clicking here, and it has been added to my page that lists my publications. I’ve now been published six times, adding up to 1,211 pages, and every time it happens, my writing heart is filled with more encouragement, excitement, and endless love. 

As always, I thank you for your timeless support and your daily words of kindness that continue to guide me down this passionate life path. To you – my reader – I am most grateful. 

~SAT

Poem

Poem

 

Photography and Writing

12 Jan

First – if you like Facebook groups for authors, editors, and/or any one to do with writing, here’s a fantastic one for the Author Extension Community. It’s just another way to meet more people willing to support other artists.

Second – I want to thank Sarit Yahalomi at Coffee & Books & Art for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: “I can always appreciate a female character whose purpose is not only to look cute and pretty in the arms of her leading man but to actually show some attitude and who knows how to fight back.” Check out her entire review here.

I joined Instagram. Believe it or not, this actually has to do with my post today. I didn’t plan on talking about photography and how it has affected my writing life, but I thought sharing my surrender to Instagram was a good way to open up this little discussion that has more to do with my past than my current life. I would love it if you would join me there. I will probably (mainly) take fun photos of cats, coffee, and my writing adventures, and I hope to see your photos, too.

But what do photos have to do with writing?

I used to love photography. I still do, but I meant to say that I used to participate in photography. At one point, photography actually overcame my writing – which wasn’t a surprise, considering my father worked for Kodak for 25 years, and our house was full of one-time-use photograph machines. I used to have a beautiful camera that sadly died a number of years ago. I have been weary about getting a new one, only because I need a new laptop first, but I miss it – a lot.

I found creativity behind the lens just as I find adventures behind words today. I used to spend hours walking through empty fields and forests, imagining all of the magic that could exist in one backyard.  Below is actually a photo I took in my front yard, and – fun fact – it was used on the back cover of Minutes Before Sunset.

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A part of this is now the back cover on Minutes Before Sunset.

At some point in my childhood I realized the magic I obsessed over was in the simplest of things – in the broken bottle cap or the abandoned farmhouse – because it came down to perspective. 

A farmhouse wasn’t just a barn that no one wanted – it was a mystery, a creaking doorway into the unknown. Perhaps this is why articles about abandoned places inspire me so much. They leave room for the imagination in reality rather than forcing the imagination while sitting in an empty room. It’s fresh air, so to speak.

The magic found in creating art is discovered by challenging a perspective. 

This is what photography has to do with writing – for me, it’s about how we see the world, but it’s also about trying a new hobby to enhance a talent (or taking a moment to get away from the keyboard and out of the house.) I’ve shown how I’ve used photographs in a book to keep track of writing, but there’s more to photos than simply staring at them in the same sense that reading words is different than writing words down.

The point of this – honestly – isn’t about getting you to love photography but rather sharing my experience with realizing that I might be able to further my love for writing by dabbling back in my love for photography. 

So, try it with me if you want – go back in time, remember something you used to love to do, even if it was rarely, and attempt to love it for a day again. Enjoy it like a vacation or rededicate yourself to practicing it again in 2014.

I know I will be. In fact, in the future I will be blogging about why the photo below is symbolic to my writing. If you recall, it was used as the placement photo before the cover to Seconds Before Sunrise was revealed, and there’s a very good reason for that. I’m looking forward to sharing that reasoning soon.

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise? You’re about to find out.

~SAT

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