Tag Archives: social media for authors

#MondayBlogs Authors, Add Extras to Books

23 May

Writing a book is long process often filled with notes, maps, character charts, soundtracks, and Sticky Notes. If a novel is 350 pages long, there’s probably a stack of papers twice that high that led up to the publication of it. Whether it was an editorial letter or a rewrite or a list of background stories, authors are constantly juggling the writing of the journey and the creation of it—two very different things when you consider not all world-building and character creating makes it into the final story. But that doesn’t mean your notes have to be thrown away. It doesn’t mean that they have to collect computer dust either. You, as the author, can share them, and readers might just love you for it.

I’m talking about extras.

What are extras? These are elements of your story that didn’t make it into your novel but aspects you can still share with your readers. Below are some ideas to try out.

1. An Overall Extras Page

All three of my series have an Extras page on my website. (Check them out: Bad Bloods, The Timely Death Trilogy, and The Tomo Trilogy.) What do I include on my overall Extras pages? Anything and everything. I link to articles that relate to the building of the novel, I share fan art by awesome readers, I create games and personality quizzes, and I list anywhere else they might find other fun tidbits about the book. This could be where you offer signed books or swag. It could be where you post a map (if that’s not in your book) and/or maps of particular rooms. You could include music or favorite quotes or super fans who’ve sent photos in with your books or you at a signing. I have calendars that show what dates my chapters take place on. I’ve included scrapbooks where I pasted pictures on the pages that reminded me of characters. I’ve even discussed how much particular characters have changed. Any notes that helped you build would be great for this kind of page.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

2. Wattpad Shorts 

Remember that scene you LOVED like crazy but your editor convinced you to cut? (Let’s be honest. It needed to be cut. It didn’t move the story forward, but it was SUCH a great scene.) Well, this is what Wattpad is for. Not only is Wattpad filled with aspiring writers and avid readers you can connect with, you can also give more to the fans you already have by posting shorts either cut out from your novels or brand-new short stories that are simply related to your novel. I’m doing this with my new release right now. Since there are so many characters, many of their background stories were very limited in the novels, but I had written longer, detailed versions, and I didn’t want them to sit on my computer. I’m now posting all their origin stories, spanning them out over a series of weeks, and they can be read as extras—before, after, or while reading Bad Bloods—or read just for fun. Never let that cut scene you love go to waste ever again.

3. Social Media Websites To Think About

Like Wattpad, there are dozens—if not hundreds—of websites out there you can use to host extras for your novel. Did you listen to certain songs while writing? Create a playlist on YouTube or 8tracks so readers can listen, too. Did you make a Pinterest board for all of your characters? Great! Link to it. Let readers see a physical representation of your imagination. Try to make personality quizzes (Which character are you? Which couple from the book are you? How long would you last in my post-apocalyptic story?). Think of your content and have fun with it! After all, you wrote an entire novel about it.

So, again, just a little list to think about: Fan art, any notes you had, related articles, maps, calendars, soundtracks, Pinterest boards, personality quizzes, swag, signed books, and more.

The only thing I’d warn against is spoilers. Be sure to warn and label spoilers accordingly. And, of course, have fun!

Original posted April 6, 2013

~SAT

13245233_1046886115358569_5859558976763581283_nIf you sign up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap, I’ll send you signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods. All you have to do is sign up, take a screenshot of your support, and email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. What’s a Thunderclap? It’s an automated message that will release from your Twitter, Tumblr, and/or Facebook page the day of the book release to help me reach more readers. I only have to reach 100 supporters for the message to go out, so any and all help is appreciated.

maggieIn other news, the Bad Bloods Prequel was updated on Wattpad! Read Maggie’s story today! Right now, you can read the origin stories of Adam, Michele, and Maggie. Ryne’s story releases June 3, with more stories releasing every other Friday. (There might also be an origin story coming up that relates to Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy, so…wink…wink.)

On top of that, you can officially pre-order both books in the Bad Bloods duology. If you pre-order November Snow, I will send you November Rain for review today! (And if you write a review, I will send you November Snow right after that.) This means you could read these two books RIGHT NOW just by preordering and sending me a receipt to shannonathompson@aol.com. All of this news (and more) went out in my newsletter on Sunday, so if you’re missing out on the latest giveaways, you should sign up here.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#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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#MondayBlogs How To Enjoy Blogging As An Author

18 Apr

In an ever-changing social media frenzy, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when starting out on social media or as you continue to grow your Internet visibility. One of the topics I constantly see discussed in the numerous forums I lurk in is blogging. Do authors have to blog? (No.) How many times should I blog a week? (As often as you want to.) But the main question I see is almost always the same. What should I blog about?

Blogging

It might sound strange for me—an avid blogger—to tell others that they shouldn’t blog if they don’t want to, but I am a firm believer in writing what you want to write, and I use that philosophy toward social media as well. Hate Facebook? Stay off of it. Love Twitter? Tweet all day long. As a reader myself, I can tell when a writer isn’t enjoying their story or their posts or if something is lazily thrown together, and I am no exception. I guarantee someone can tell if I am bored or half-interested in what I am doing. There is a connective energy behind words, and that energy will get through to the reader, positive or not.

Now that I have said that, I can admit I’ve had my moments where I didn’t want to blog. For those of you who are new to my website, I’ve been blogging on here since September of 2012. During my first two years, a post went up every other day—all of which were focused on reading and writing—but I’ve changed my blogging schedule almost every year. This year, for instance, I host guest articles or revamp popular past articles on Mondays (yes, I’ve covered this topic before, and you can read the original by clicking the link below this article), I discuss new writing/reading topics on Wednesdays, and I have fun on Saturdays by sharing what I’m writing, reading, publishing, baking, watching, etc.

I’ve allowed myself to morph my website as I grow and change, so I don’t lose that energy or love for blogging. Knowing when to change your focus and energy is going to help you keep your momentum up while also maintaining your voice. It’s always okay to try something new. In fact, I encourage it.

I encourage many things when it comes to blogging—one of which relies on planning ahead, writing posts in advance, and scheduling posts before necessary. That way, if you need to step away for a few days due to any reason, you can without disappearing completely and/or getting discouraged. In fact, I generally schedule posts about two weeks in advance. (As an example, this article was written and scheduled on April 5.) This helps me manage my life outside of blogging. I could write my entire week of blog posts in one day, which allows me to spend the rest of my week working on other things. If there happens to be a timely topic I want to post earlier, all I have to do is push all of my other articles back. Sometimes, before I know it, I have an entire month ready to go in one week.

But what do I write about?

Well…I write about what matters to me, and I encourage all bloggers to sit back and consider what matters to them. Do you love Pinterest? Talk about how images have helped you shape a character. Do you struggle with certain grammatical phrases? Discuss how someone can overcome writing faults. Did you just read a wonderful novel? Share your thoughts on the story. One topic I think helps beginning bloggers is to write a reaction piece to another blog post that inspired them and link back to that post. It helps connect you with other bloggers and readers while moving a discussion forward. And, of course, don’t worry about getting a ton of followers the minute you start. Blogging is about being genuine, having fun, and sharing your thoughts with others. It’s not about getting famous or a thousand reads in one afternoon. Worry about viewership later. For now, focus only on being you—your brand—and dedicating yourself to a schedule of topics you’ll enjoy discussing with others.

Topics are everywhere. Pay attention to what you discuss with your friends and family. Jot a note down when an article catches your eye, and write about it on your blog later.

Blogging—or any social media—doesn’t have to feel like marketing or work. It can be fun and uplifting. Simply let the words guide you toward discussions you care about, and more discussions will follow.

Original posted March 11, 2015

~SAT

12987154_1026069624106885_7090363803884438678_nClean Teen Publishing is hosting a #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter April 27! I’m REALLY excited about this live author-reader Q&A, and I really hope you all can make it. You can even win a CTP Mystery Box, which includes 1 to 2 print books, swag, and more. And that’s not all.

If you love free stuff, Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE right now. Recommended to YA paranormal romance fans who want new creatures never seen or heard of before. One wonderful fan, Pau’s Digital Playground, created a fun cosplay as a member of the Light. In The Timely Death Trilogy, the Light and the Dark are supernatural, double identities that fight to the death. While members of the Dark have the powers to teleport, talk telepathically, and basically blow things up with magical bursts of energy, the members of the Light can create illusions, transport to another dimension, and transform at any point. (Members of the Dark are limited to the night.) Oh, and each sect has a descendent who wields a sword. Dun. Dun. Dun.

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 Pitch Competitions

4 Nov

Although many of you know me as an author, I work a full-time day job as an editor and marketer. I also give publishing advice and help writers with their websites. It was during this job one of my clients asked me if I had ever participated in a #Pitch competition.

If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry! I didn’t either. Not at first anyway. In fact, I embarrassingly admitted to my client that I once participated in the Twitter feed to talk to other writers without realizing a competition was going on. (This is actually okay, since it’s about making friends, but the Twitter feed is generally for those who have entered or plan to enter in the future.)

All of the Pitch competitions are different, but they generally have a theme, are run by a number of agents and mentors, and at the end, a couple of lucky authors get to skip the slush pile and apply to agents and publishers directly. Most of them you apply to via email (following all the rules!), and then you have daily discussions via Twitter while the agents are picking winners. That’s the basic rundown.

Now, after I talked to my client about this, I told them I would do some more research and figure out how to join the next one and what to do during it. Huzzah! #PitchSlam and #NoQS (Nightmare on Query Street) were taking place about a month in the future. (These events happened in October. Isn’t this time warp thing crazy?) I found the rules via the hosts’ blogs, and I relayed all of the information and deadlines. I told my client everything, but they still weren’t sure. They wanted personal information from someone with firsthand experience.

So…I joined.

At the time I was struggling with approaching my own publisher with my pitch for my latest manuscript, so I figured why not get advice from people in the industry? I was too close to the manuscript—much in a way that an editor can’t edit his or her own writing alone—and I needed help from someone else.

I entered #PitchSlam

One of my favorite PitchSlam tweets

One of my favorite PitchSlam tweets

I am going to start out by saying, I LOVED this entire experience. Not only was there an awesome theme surrounding Harry Potter, but there was also three separate days of events and support from the agents and the community. On day 1, 200 lucky writers received feedback on their 35-word pitch. On day 2, another 200 lucky writers received feedback on their first 250 words. I was super lucky. I was picked on both days, and by the end of the week, six mentors had helped me fine-tune my project.

I was through the roof. And from reading the feed, so were many other writers.

Pitch competitions are priceless. I made friends in the writing community I might not have ever made, and I learned a lot from those around me. I had fun, and I never once saw someone feel defeated by “losing.” Because there is no “losing” in these competitions. There’s just friendship, support, understanding, and teaching.

I highly recommend trying one out if you have a completed manuscript and you’re looking for an agent/publisher and/or honest/professional feedback on your work (or even if you just want to make some writer friends)!

Just to help you out, here is some extra information on upcoming ones:

  • Follow @Michelle4Laughs on Twitter for information on Sun versus Snow, a query competition coming in January. Info.
  • There’s another PitchSlam in March of 2016 as well. Info here. It’s a bi-annual contest. Here’s a list of the PitchSlam Profressors. Follow them for future updates.
  • News on PitchWars: They’ll have news on the next one after the New Year: Info.
  • Pitch Madness starts in February: Info

So get ready for the next one! I’m sure it’ll be fun. And of course, I wish you the best of luck. (And of course, be sure to follow those rules!)

~SAT

#WW The Joy of Progress Bars

17 Jun

#WW The Joy of Progress Bars

If you’ve been with me for a while, you might remember when I used to have a progress bar on the right side of my website. I no longer have one, but I’ll talk about that in a minute. Since I no longer have on, my progress bar revolved around my current writing projects. Generally, I had two novels at once, and I included the status (ex. Editing) as well as the estimated release date. I have samples below, but I mainly outlined when my novels were being written, edited, and formatted until the release date. That being said, I loved having progress bars on my website, and I encourage every writer to at least try it for three months. Why?

1. It’s interactive with readers!

A progress bar keeps your readers up-to-date. Not only do they know where you are in your work but they can also talk to you about where you are. Everyone can be a part of the process now, and as a reader myself, I think it’s exciting to see all the steps as they happen. Want to know if I’m editing? Want to know if I’m reviewing edits? Now you know, and you can know where I’m at during every step of the process as the weeks pass. It builds up all that hype, and you can celebrate every milestone with your readers! This is actually the reason I started doing it. When I began receiving regular emails about my current status with my next novel, I wanted to find a way to keep everyone updated by just visiting my website, and it worked wonders for everyone! We could chat whenever we wanted about where we were at and skip the questions so we could go directly to celebrating progress.

Progress from June 3, 2014 - September 28, 2013

Progress from June 3, 2014 – September 28, 2014

2. It reminds writers of how far they’ve come

I definitely recommend progress bars to new writers because it will help you from getting discouraged. At first, it won’t seem like a lot, but when you see your bars over months right next to one another, you can see how much you are accomplishing, and that’s a great feeling! It can help you set goals and encourage yourself. But be warned. Some writers have the opposite feelings about bars. They feel discouraged, like they aren’t moving forward, and it sometimes puts too much pressure on writers, so while it works for many—it’s fun for me—it has also felt worse for others. So, figure out what type of writer you are. If you love writing goals, this might be for you. If you love keeping track of your word count, this might be for you. But if writing goals and word count makes you shrink away from your computer screen, I wouldn’t do it. I would just write.

So why don’t I have one anymore?

Well, I probably will again soon! Honestly, though, I deleted mine when my old publisher closed down because I knew I couldn’t update anyone. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I will probably keep everyone updated on my writing progress with November Snow and other projects as we move forward. If you want to try one, I make mine via PicMonkey. It’s simple and free—and fun! I love looking back on mine, and I love looking forward to new ones.

What about you? Have you ever tried a progress bar? Would you ever consider trying one?

~SAT

The Please-Help-Shannon Poll

1 Nov

Announcements:

10620095_760175297362987_6507736429119474630_oSpecial thanks goes out to Omar Bula Escobar – former UN representative and author of “El Plan Maestro” – for translating and sharing a quote from Minutes Before Sunset yesterday on his website!

In my latest interview, I was asked if I have a message for my fans, and I do! Click here to read my answer on Mel’s Shelves. The interview is right below her review of Seconds Before Sunrise where she wrote, “I was drawn into this story and felt like I was there with them. I loved the ending and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story will go next!” Join the dark by clicking here before the last novel arrives this January.

A new poem – What I Wanted to Wear for Halloween – has been added to my interactive poetry series – now both on Wattpad and HelloPoetry. Comment, vote, or share for your chance to be mentioned on my YouTube channel!

The Please-Help-Shannon Poll

I am starting off November a little differently – with a small poll. I promise that it is small, and I hope that you take a minute to help me out. This poll has two questions that can affect my publishing discussions and the content of this website. Just comment below or shoot me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com.

What would you like to see published in 2015?

  • Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy
  • Take Me Yesterday, sequel to Take Me Tomorrow
  • November Snow rewrite and release
  • A completely new novel
  • Audio books
  • More poems
  • More short stories
  • Something else entirely – please feel free to suggest something else

What would you like to see on ShannonAThompson.com?

This can range anywhere from more guest posts to YouTube videos to topic suggestions to posts that have nothing to do with writing and reading. So suggest anything below! (If you suggest a specific post I use in the future, I will credit you and your website for inspiration.)

This is how I call for help

This is how I call for help

I truly appreciate all of your time and help. Things have been really hard in my personal life recently, so I’ve had to reevaluate a lot of things. Unfortunately, that includes my publishing life and this website. I won’t lie. There might be a major delay or a dramatic change in the near future, and I hope you do not despise me because of it. I truly am sorry – because quite frankly I feel as if I am failing you right now – but I am trying my hardest to keep up with everything, and your responses will help me solidify decisions I need to make. I truly want your input on those decisions because you – as well as the wonderful AEC team – are the reasons I am able to pursue my writing life.

If you can be so kind, please share the services on my page. The Author Extension Community offers a variety of affordable packages for authors and bloggers, including:

  • Content editing and proofreading
  • Review and interview requests
  • Social Media assessments
  • And more!

I know. I know. Shameless marketing. But I need your help, and I hope there is no shame in asking for it.

Thank you again, and Happy November,

~SAT

10 Things Authors Worry About

20 Sep

Announcements: 

The next section of my interactive poetry series on Wattpad has begun! You can read the first poem – The grave of my teenage daughter – by clicking the link. Remember to vote, comment, and/or share for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.

In other news, Star-crossed Book Blog reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, and she included excerpts and viewpoints on the characters. Read the full review by clicking here, but here’s a small quote, “Noah was a mystery that I enjoyed unraveling. He was broken, dark and even though he never showed it, I couldn’t help but feel as though he was suffocating from having the weight of the world on his shoulders.” Click here to check out Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon.

10 Things Authors Worry About:

One of my more popular posts has always been Being a Writer: Pros and Cons. So much so that I even receive emails about it to this day – mainly from aspiring writers who want a little more detail about an author’s lifestyle. That’s why I got to thinking about this topic, and that is also why I thought it would be fun to share some of those pesky worries authors can go through on a regular basis. Honestly? I probably could’ve gone on forever, but here are ten topics I’ve had a giggle at to start the conversation:

1. Is my title catchy enough? – This is my first one because I dealt with this while writing this piece. In all honestly, this should be titled “things I worry about as an author” but…A. That’s too long. B. Using “I” is generally frowned upon because…A. It’s self-centered B. It subconsciously removes readers from the center of the piece; therefore, taking down your chances of being clicked, read, and commented on. (This is true. Google it.) And let me just point out that this is just a blog post. Titling a novel is even scarier! That’s when even more questions arise: does it make sense, does it represent my novel, will readers enjoy it, is it eye-catching, how will it look on a cover? Even worse: how will it look like on a spine or as a thumbnail? Just. Title. Me. (and by “title” I truly mean “hit”)

2. Can I stare at this picture of myself forever? – Generally in reference to whatever photo we decide to use for various purposes, including our websites, business cards, and book covers. I don’t care how awesome someone looks or how stunning a photographer makes you look, seeing the same photo day-after-day-month-after-year is really strange (and borderline creepy). It is almost like staring in the mirror too long. Eventually, you start thinking, “Do I really look like that? Is that how people see me?” Ah! I just want to hide my face in a book.

3. Are my characters (fill in the blank)? – Too happy, conceded, whiny, or – the worst one – flat. It’s this solid shadow of worry that is impossible to forget.

4. What am I doing wrong? – Okay. Okay. This is just a question that I’m sure everyone has about numerous things in their life, but I feel like this question represents so much for authors. Why are my rankings so low? Why haven’t I gotten more reviews yet? How can I connect further with my darling readers? Everything is lined with this “I know I can do better, but first I need to know what I’m doing wrong so I can improve” and it slowly becomes this obsession of Googling for advice and begging fellow authors for some sort of know-it-all secret, but it results in one thing: you’ll get better. And you slam your forehead on your desk because you know they’re right.

5. Ratings, Reviews, and Rankings (Oh! And sales!) – Even if we try our hardest to ignore them, they are often discussed within the writing community. I can admit that I try to pay attention to everything – especially the reviews my readers post, because I look at it this way: if they are going to take the time to read and review my book (not to mention send me a link), I am definitely going to take the time to read their thoughts. Thanking them is the least I can do. That being said, this combination of numbers and scales can be just as exhausting and discouraging as it can be enthralling and encouraging, so there’s definitely a careful line we have to keep in mind if we’re going to keep our minds on these things, and I definitely don’t recommend that every author pay attention to these things. It’s completely up to the author’s personal preferences, especially in terms of whether or not someone can just have fun with it. (But that’s a different discussion entirely…that I’m already planning on posting about in the near future).

for

6. What am I going to do in 2017? – Yes. 2017. I don’t know about many authors, but I think a lot of authors have year-long plans if not longer plans as to what they want to work on, release, and distribute next. While we’re publishing one novel, we’re probably already writing another one, and we might be writing a second one when we’re on break. It takes years to write and publish, so writers’ lives are generally planned out a year in advance. It can get overwhelming sometimes, especially when you want to fit in a new project or change directions entirely.

7. When will I write next? – As contradicting as this can be, a writers publication calendar can be set for a year or three, but finding time to write or edit or a number of other writerly things is entirely up to the writer and their personal life. Wait. I’m open from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. next Thursday? Not anymore. #amwriting

8. Am I reading enough? Am I writing enough? – Reading and writing go hand-in-hand into the sunset…while riding separate horses…that sometimes like the go in different directions. Balancing two passions can be hard, sometimes impossibly difficult, but we find a way.

9. Am I writing for fun enough? – Much like the above issue, it can go hand-in-hand with simply writing, but writing with deadlines can sometimes take that original fun out of it, and even authors need to take time to write something silly they never have to worry about releasing or sharing with four editors and the world.

10. Social Media – It was the best of nights and it was the worst of nights. I love it, and – sometimes – I do hate it. (Please don’t tell social media that.) It can be repetitive, and it can be so exciting that you fall off your desk chair and your cat leaps five feet in the air due to your sudden movements. Even then, your eyes can only stare at that little glowing screen for so long before you have to step away and remember what real-life colors look like without an alien illumination behind them. I can still love how it connects me with you all, though, and I enjoy speaking with everyone in the comments below, but I also worry about whether or not you’ll enjoy my next article, my approaching poem, or my non-HD video. (Sorry, a writer’s life isn’t always a rich life. I can’t afford HD yet, even though you all deserve it!) But I try to push my worries away, so I can fully enjoy the ride.

Let’s enjoy this ride together! Comment below, and we’ll chat about what you worry about as a reader or writer. Honorable mentions go to editing, mistakes that make it through editing, and other writer problems we all tweet about.

~SAT

Pros and Cons of an Author Blog

12 Sep

Announcements:

It’s Friday, so you know what that means: it’s also Poetry Friday! In case you missed it, I’ve uploaded a new poem to my interactive poetry series on Wattpad – How She Loved Me. This is also the last one of this particular set. Depending on your vote, one of the four will be read on my YouTube channel, so check them out before it’s too late by clicking here.

But – in other news – two fantastic readers sent me book reviews, and my latest interview was posted, so here we here:

Tranquil Dreams wrote, “Take Me Tomorrow is absolutely impressive. It’s engaging, intriguing and is an absolute page-turner.  I took every single second opportunity to resume reading whenever I could because I just couldn’t wait to see what happen next with Sophia and Noah as the story unfolded.” But you can read her entire review by clicking here.

For The Timely Death Trilogy fans, Read Watch and Think reviewed Minutes Before Sunset: “Do not skip over this book thinking that it is another paranormal romance, if you want to read a quick, interesting plot with a whole new captivating world of shades and light. The core of the story may be romance but the book is not all about it and that makes it worthy enough for me.” Her full review can be found here.

But you can also read my latest interview at Into the Written World. I mainly speak about Take Me Tomorrow, including information on the possible sequel, but I also discussed my passion for writing and reading, so be sure to check it out by clicking the link above.

Whew! Thank you for reading today’s news. Onto today’s post:

Pros and Cons of an Author Blog

On September 25, it will be my two-year anniversary of blogging here. Over time, I have blogged about many topics, but I mainly focus on writing and reading. Because of that, I have received many questions about my decisions regarding blogging. Ex/ how do you choose what to write about, do you think it’s a good platform for selling books, how did you get 17,000 followers, what do you recommend I do? All fantastic questions. (And one of the main reasons I write Ketchup posts and provide a social media assessment through the Author Extension Community.) But today I wanted to share some of those pretty pros and pesky cons for all those that are curious about how blogging can be uplifting but also a stressful adventure – one that I will gladly continue.

Pro: You can share your thoughts

That is the point of blogging, isn’t it? Having a blog is almost like having a public diary, one that includes carefully thought-out posts (instead of emotional ranting about personal topics). Even better, we can connect with others who share the same opinion or be challenged by those who do not. It opens streams of thought from one person to another, even people the entire way across the world. How amazing is that? On top of that, you are cataloging it over time, and in the future, you will be able to go back and see what you were thinking, how you changed, and where you began friendships with readers and fellow bloggers. This is when you realize blogging is beyond blogging. It’s family-building.

Con: People may not enjoy your thoughts, and they might be really mean about it.

This is also a reference to the ever-illusive-but-always-present trolls. I like to believe that I’m fairly open-minded. I don’t mind if someone disagrees with me or a commenter, but the second name-calling or some other form of incredible immaturity happens, I delete it. (You’d be surprised to know how many times this has happened.) Call it censorship. Call it what you want. But I don’t want my blog to be a place people reference when they talk about online bullying and harassment. This means that I take an extra fifteen minutes to monitor my comments so I can guarantee a safe and happy place for everyone to come to without worry, but it was very disheartening to experience it the first few times it happened. Now, my shell is tougher, and my group of readers are (probably) happier – even if no one knows it since I delete all the evidence of my troll-destroying.

Original image from ms. ileane speaks: October 2012

Original image from ms. ileane speaks: October 2012

Pro: You connect with supporters

Everyone always says that writers have blogs to sell books, but that’s bullshit. (Excuse my French.) It’s not to sell books. It is to connect with people. It is not to connect with potential fans of your novels. It is to connect with potential supports of you. (So you can support them, too, of course.) For instance, one of my readers might HATE paranormal romance, but they may have a cousin who loves it, and since we talk, they might tell their cousin about me, but no one is obligated. I don’t expect anyone to do anything at all. I’m simply glad that my reader is here, and I’m grateful for every discussion we share, whether or not it is about my books. In fact, I had this blog long before I ever spoke to my publisher, let alone had a contract, but – Ultimately, I blog because I love to blog, and I love people, and I love blogging with people and for people. It is my other passion. It is a part of me. It is even permanently on my iCalendar. In case you’re curious, my website notes are in orange.

Con: You connect with haters

Ugh. Trolls.

Pros: You created an enjoyable platform

Again, I must repeat myself – writers don’t blog every other day because they want to sell books. Writers blog because they like writing, and blogging is another form of writing. It’s an easy way to express ourselves and connect with others who are interested in sharing their thoughts. Of course, I’m not trying to speak for every writer out there, but writing novels can (sometimes) feel like work, so blogging can be a nice way to take a break but still be involved with everything. That being said, if someone is wondering about starting one for platform purposes, I do recommend writers try it, but I don’t think it’s the end-all-be-all of an author’s social media. It is just one way to tackle it. And my final advice is this: readers can tell if an author isn’t enjoying writing a novel in the same way they can tell if a blogging doesn’t care about their post. Blog if you love it. If you don’t, find another social media venue to try. You can find one you love, and it will work. Just trust that passionate gut of yours to guide you.

Pros: A never-ending array of topics await

There is so much to talk about! Like, so much. And this is coming from someone who strictly focuses on anything to do with writing and reading.

Cons: A never-ending array of topics await

But sometimes, I feel like there are so many things to talk about I cannot decide what to speak about next. This can be overwhelming, and there are other parts that can be overwhelming, too. The amount of time that goes into every blog post builds up, and reflecting on it can be…well…exhausting. But so can novel-writing. So it’s easy to remind myself of my love for it (which might be why I wrote this specific post in the first place).

On September 25, it will be my two-year anniversary of blogging here, and I love it more and more every day. I want to thank all of you for following me. Every time you read, comment, and share, I smile with gratitude, which is why I add this.

You are my biggest pro.

What are your pros and cons of blogging? Share your thoughts below,

~SAT

July’s Ketchup

30 Jul

Announcements:

I Am a Reader is giving away three eBooks of Minutes Before Sunset, but they’ve also posted an interview I did with them. Join the raffle and the fun by clicking here.

If you want more news about Take Me Tomorrow, The Starving Bibliophile posted her review, stating, “Sophia is a goddamn hero” among various excerpts and lists. Read her entire review by clicking here.

July’s Ketchup

July’s Ketchup is here! For those of you just now checking in this month, I write “Ketchup” posts at the end of every month, describing my big moments, top blog post, the post I wish received more views, my top referrer, and more in order to show what goes on behind the scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. Because I received an email about this, I have added one new item to these stats – number one clicked item. For those of you who do not have a WordPress, this is a stat they offer on our Dashboards. This is a fantastic suggestion because I think it will show readers where my website sends my readers when they leave here, so I hope you enjoy this addition.

Big Moments:

takemetomorrow

#1 Clicked Item – Link to TMT on Amazon

Take Me Tomorrow released as an eBook. The paperback is coming (I promise.) And I am so happy to finally have this novel in readers’ hands. A few days ago, Take Me Tomorrow was even in the top 100 in dystopian novels, so that was really neat! I am truly looking forward to seeing how more readers react to the topics in Take Me Tomorrow because – in all honesty – this novel is going to affect major decisions for my upcoming novels, like if there is a sequel or not. So I hope you continue checking out my latest novel and telling me what you think.

You can check it out here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

New York Times and USA Today’s Bestselling author, M.A. Comley, quoted Seconds Before Sunrise. 

mel

And in the end, we hit 17,000 followers this month! Thank you for making these moments big, but – most of all – thank you for growing with me.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Why I Write About Drugs, Immigration, and Addiction: Take Me Tomorrow was written with great care. Considering there are very serious subjects in it – drug use, immigration, addiction, etc. – I took my time to research throughly, even changing the novel in a direction I never saw coming, including directions I was originally against because these topics are very personal to my life, and this post explains all of that.

2. Different Social Medias and How I Use Them as an Author: Social media is a crazy, confusing road, but it doesn’t have to be.

3. You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write: From my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – this video explains why writers should not rely only on technology.

game3The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Finding Time to Write in College: In all honestly, I have no idea how many views this got since I was a guest blogger on Pau’s Castles, but I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to see it and Pau’s fantastic website. I talk about how I managed my time in college so I could write novels, including Take Me Tomorrow.

Guest Post:

Spreading the Love: Written by Mishka Jenkins, this romance-focused post explains why some authors enjoy writing about love and why it is so important for us to continue to write love stories.

Other Blog Posts Organized By Topic:

Reading:

My #1 referrer was Twitter

My #1 referrer was Twitter

Publishing:

Author Life:

For Fun:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Take Me Tomorrow: Live. Laugh. Read, Chris Pavesic, Things Matter, Ray’s Works, Inkwell & Paper, Diary of an Eager Reader, Elaine Jeremiah, The Starving Bibliophile.

Seconds Before Sunrise: Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst

Minutes Before Sunset: My Library in the MakingLive. Laugh. Read.

Interviews: I Am a Reader, Diary of an Eager Reader, Camisado Mind, The Authors Show, Lit Chic, Marcha’s Two Cents Worth, HeiBooks, The Starving Bibliophile, Indie Romance Convention

Awarders: Very Inspiring Blogger Award (The Troubled Oyster), Very Inspiring Blogger Award (Honya’s Bookshelf), Very Inspiring Blogger Award (A World of Words)

Giveaways: The Nerdy Girlie, Platypire Reviews, Fantasy is More Fun, I Am a Reader, Books to curl up with blog

Photo from Favim.com - reminded me of a scene from the TMT sequel. ::wink wink::

Photo from Favim.com – reminded me of a scene from the TMT sequel. ::wink wink::

Different Social Medias and How I Use Them as an Author

8 Jul

One announcement today:

Taking on a World of Words nominated ShannonAThompson.com for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Thank you 😀 When I am nominated, I post the facts and blogs on my Facebook page, but I also want you to check out the three blogs I nominated: Ciara Darren, Fallen Manga Studios, Elie Eldritch.

Different Social Medias and How I Use Them

As a writer, readers might picture my every day schedule as my laptop and I sitting in a café, writing out the next novel to be released, but – in fact – that’s pretty far from the truth. I spend a good portion of my time on social media, both for myself and for AEC Stellar Publishing. Even if it looks like I’m logged off, chances are that I am writing a future post and scheduling it on a timer – chances are that I’m constantly posting somewhere online.

I first signed on with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. as an author only. But a few months in, they asked me to become a Social Media Wizard. (That’s right. I’m a retired Wizard.) During that time, I learned a lot about how to optimize social media for authors, but I also had personal preferences that I still use today. During this post, I’m going to share the different social media platforms I enjoy and struggle with. If I struggle with it, I’ll try to find a helpful author that I know who uses that specific platform.

WordPress:

If you didn’t already know, this website is based off of WordPress. This is – by far – my favorite platform to participate on. Not only can I express what I’m doing in detail, but I can also go see what my readers are doing. I love being able to share pictures and links and ideas in depth – so I guess you could say that I love my blog. A blog allows us to express our day-to-day lives or to share inspirational messages or to connect on a deeper level than 150 characters. That being said, a blog demands a lot of time. I, personally, post every other day. That may not sound like a lot, but it takes up a majority of my social media time. Because of the level of fans I can meet, I definitely think it is worth it though – but even if I couldn’t meet fans, a blog is something I enjoy, so I believe I would blog anyway. In fact, I used to have another blog before this one.

Facebook:

Join me today!

Join me today!

This is my number two, mainly because it is my top referrer to my blog. That being said, Facebook can be a tricky slope to climb (and a fast one to fall down on.) Facebook is constantly changing, and it has developed a bad reputation for keeping viewers away from the pages they like. However, I’ve had a lot of luck with it. I do get views and clicks that continue to grow, and that satisfies me, but I have learned one thing: if my views are going up, but then I post something that gets no likes, my next post has a less of a chance of being viewed. Basically, as soon as you climb, you can slide back down very, very quickly. But I think it’s important to figure out what makes your stats climb and what causes them to fall. For me, I try to mix it up with inspirational articles, news about my novels, fun photos, and engaging posts that allow readers to post their favorite pages and other things that they enjoy, so I can understand them. I also share posts from other pages, and I contribute to their pages as my page (not as my personal Facebook.) Beyond that, I participate in Facebook groups for authors and readers, which allows me to connect with even more people, and I friend those people with my personal Facebook so we can stay in contact easier.

Twitter:

At first, I really disliked Twitter. I still find it a little more difficult than Facebook. It always seemed to reach writers but not readers. But I’ve been focusing more energy on Twitter recently – simply posting about my day – and Twitter was ALMOST my top referrer last month. So I’m still trying to fully optimize this, but I do like it, and I am beginning to understand more hashtag opportunities as they come. For authors, I would suggest dwindling down the number of times one posts “5 Stars! Buy this steamy romance for .99 cents! (insert link here)” I see it every other post on my newsfeed, and it’s very rare that I see anyone retweet it. I almost feel like these posts cause readers to stop following writers. I’m not saying you can’t post that ever. But every five minutes is pretty bad. I try to share my blog posts on Twitter, but I mainly use Twitter to discuss trending topics – like when Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal came out. I live tweeted to fellow viewers, and I gained 50 followers in one night. (That was awesome!) An awesome fan also created a hashtag for Take Me Tomorrow, so if you ever tweet about my latest novel, please use the hashtag #Rx. 😀

bomGoodreads:

I am friends with many readers on Goodreads, and I love adding novels to my bookshelf, but – in my opinion – I have yet to really use Goodreads in depth. I have participated in groups, and Minutes Before Sunset won an award on Goodreads – but I find myself drowning in how much information is on there. It’s fantastic. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely recommend it. But to participate the right way, I feel like you have to spend A LOT of time on there, and I don’t have as much time as I would like in order to fully communicate with everyone. And – as an author – Goodreads has terrified me from time-to-time. They have many new rules in place that tell authors not to communicate with readers, and if you do, your novels and profile can be taken off forever. (EEK!) I know many authors who continue talking to readers and many who don’t, but the risk keeps me away most of the time.

Pinterest:

This is a personal thing. I love it. I only recently started it. I met a few new readers and fans, but I’m enjoying it as an author because it is unbelievably fun to create your boards for your books. I’ve started creating “private” boards for books I’ve just started writing, so it might be a great place for me to go back and share original concepts when the novel is published. In fact, I have boards for The Timely Death Trilogy, Take Me Tomorrow, and November Snow.

Tumblr:

I started Tumblr in the same week as I started Pinterest. I can’t get a grip on it. I like it, but I miss the ability to comment or communicate in a lengthy fashion. That being said, I’ve met many authors who absolutely LOVE Tumblr, and Amber Skye Forbes has a great post about how to manage your Tumblr in an effective manner.

Instagram:

Believe it or not, I have met a few readers there, and I love to update it once a week or so. But I don’t believe it’s necessary to have one as an author. I enjoy taking pictures and sharing them, so it worked for me in the sense that it easily blended in with my every day life.

YouTube:

It’s been difficult to keep up with my channel, and I’ve only uploaded two videos, so I can’t say if this is a great platform or not yet (not from personal experience anyway) but I am planning on continuing it.

Wattpad:

I’m very grateful to Wattpad. I love it. I haven’t been able to spend more time there, though, so I can’t really say a lot about for now, but I can say that it helped me out a lot before I signed with AEC Stellar Publishing, so I do recommend it for writers looking for advice on their manuscripts, but I have yet to spend enough time on it recently to get in-depth about this platform. If you’re interested in reading more, check out my article From Wattpad to Publication.

LinkedIn:

I barely use LinkedIn. I have one, but I probably only log in once a month or so. That being said, I heard it’s a fantastic place for nonfiction writers.

So there you have it. These are a couple of social media places that I go to during my author life, and I hope you enjoyed reading about them. If I had to give any specific advice, I would say that authors should treat their social media like they treat their novels: be true to yourself. Don’t force social media just like how you wouldn’t force a novel. Find what type works for you and enjoy your time on it. Just because everyone spends hours on Facebook doesn’t mean you should, and just because I love blogging doesn’t mean every author should have a blog. I believe readers can tell if authors are enthusiastic or not in novels and on social media, so find one you’re passionate about. You’ll be talking to readers in no time at all.

~SAT

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