Tag Archives: twitter

How I Use Social Media as an Author

2 Aug

Social media is generally seen as a must-have nowadays for creatives. Some writers love it. Others hate it. I find most fall somewhere in between. Which is why I wanted to talk about it. 

Being online can certainly come with its pros and cons. I have days where I love the connections I make and the information that I learn—and I have days where I feel how much of a time suck it can be. (Not to mention the dreaded imposter syndrome.) That said, I learned a long time ago that you must treat social media like a job. That often means adjusting your approach, researching new options, and paying attention to stats. 

Here are the main platforms I use in the order that I prioritize them and why (and a few tips along the way). That doesn’t mean this will work for you. It’s just to show you why I chose the platforms that I’m on and how I utilize them to the best of my ability. 

First and foremost, I recommend utilizing a third-party scheduler. I use one for every single platform that I’m on. I typically use the one integrated into the platform, which is why I’m putting this at the top with no specific name. For Twitter, I use the “Schedule Tweet” feature. For Instagram, I use the Later app. For Facebook, I use the Creative Studio. And so on and so forth. Scheduling saves me a lot of time and effort (and it prevents me from spending all day online). I highly recommend it! There are third-party schedulers that will cross-post on multiple platforms, but I’ve found those to look clunky and less than ideal on certain places. (Ex. An Instagram link will post on Twitter rather than the photo.) 

Finally, I’d recommend having an easy-to-remember, relevant username that is consistent across all your platforms. I use @AuthorSAT. I could’ve been @Coffee&Cats23, but that name doesn’t tell people what my platform is about. Make yourself easy to look up, and connect all your platforms on your website.

Without further ado, here are the specific platforms I use: 

TwitterI’ve met some of my best writer friends on Twitter, and I’ve also come across hundreds of writing opportunities on there. If you’re a writer, Twitter is the place to be. That said, more writers are leaving Twitter than ever before, too, so that may change in the near future. For now, I really enjoy my interactions. I aim to tweet at least once a day, and I log in twice a day to respond to interactions or DMs. Overall, considering the trend of leaving Twitter, I think Twitter is a lesson in not putting your eggs in one basket. What’s in one day could be out the next. So make sure you have 2-3 platforms that you use throughout the year. Be authentic, and honor the 80-20 rule. (20% or less of what you post should be about your products.) 

InstagramI’ve definitely ramped up my Instagram as of late. (Like, really recently.) It used to be a place where I periodically posted what I was reading, but as of January 2021, I realized that I truly enjoy the photo-focused feed. I like to take photos, so it seemed like a natural fit. I also find it a lot easier to interact with writers and readers on Instagram, rather than just writers on Twitter. 

FacebookI admit, I neglected my Facebook page a lot in 2020, but now that I’m back on schedule, it only takes me a minute to copy and paste my Twitter/Instagram posts onto the Creator Studio in Facebook so that it shares on there, too. And that pays off! I’m actually getting a lot more interaction on Facebook than I ever expected. So much so that I’m considering spending a lot more time and effort on there rather than other platforms. This might be because I mostly focused on Facebook when my novels were releasing a number of years ago, so I have a lot of readers who’ve actually read my work on there. It’s hard to say. But I’ve enjoyed it, and I find it much easier to keep the page going with fun memes and book/writing discussions than other platforms that favor more independent content. 

WordPressObviously, I’m using WordPress right now to write this blog post. I’ve been on here since 2012, and my blog has gone from posting every other day to once a month to today’s schedule of every first and third Monday of the month. I love blogging. When I first started, a lot of others did, too. I admit, blogging has since fallen out of favor—and that might’ve been one of the reasons I stepped back—but at the end of the day, I love blogging, so I am going to continue to do so. Weirdly, statistically speaking, my views haven’t dipped much at all. It’s the interactions that have slowed down. It can be discouraging, but I am trying to give myself more room to do what I want to do, and blogging is one of those joys for me. 

MailchimpI have a newsletter that I send out four times a year. It used to be more, but with no book news, I think four times a year is enough (for now). My newsletter includes an exclusive sneak peek at my WIP, giveaways, secret writing tips, and a behind-the-scenes look at where I’m at in my writing career. I love this newsletter, and I look forward to the day I can send it out more often! Just need to get that book deal first. 😉 I recommend every author have a newsletter. It might not feel necessary now, but you’ll be grateful that you have one when you need to share exciting news and you don’t have to depend on social media feeds to favor you that day. 

GoodreadsAs a writer, I’m also a reader, and I love nothing more than tracking what I read. Goodreads has been that place for me. I don’t necessarily use it to interact with folks, but I do notice readers who follow me elsewhere liking and commenting on my reading updates. To me, it seems that readers enjoy seeing what authors are reading. It gives us something to fangirl over together, and to me, that’s precious. That said, if you are an author, I would discourage you from writing reviews, especially poor reviews. I only rate my favorite reads with five stars, and that’s it.  

PinterestI mainly use Pinterest for writing planning. I love nothing more than pinning inspirational pictures to secret boards for WIPs I’m still dreaming about. But I also use it to share blog posts. No matter where your content is, make sure you’re sharing it on other platforms. One of my biggest articles on this website is because it became a popular “Writing Tips” pin that still circulates today. If you can create custom images for Pinterest, even better. But I don’t have enough time for that. I just pin the image of the article and make sure to use good SEO. 

LinkedInI certainly use LinkedIn more in my library career life, but I also have my blog synced with my LinkedIn, so every post on here goes directly to that website. It’s a simple way to spread content without much hassle, and it works! I get a dozen or so views from there every time. Again, make sure you’re sharing your content on other platforms and not become siloed.  

WattpadI’ve been on Wattpad for years now. My novel, Take Me Tomorrow, actually started as a Wattpad book, before it was published by a small press that later closed down. When that press closed down, I decided to put it back on Wattpad rather than try to get it published elsewhere. It’s a fun place to share stories that you don’t plan on pursuing traditional publication with. I now have Take Me Tomorrow and Took Me Yesterday (book 2) on Wattpad for readers to catch up on, as well as some Bad Bloods prequel stories that die-hard fans can check out. But again, I wouldn’t recommend posting any work that you plan on pursuing traditional publishing with. Only side stories. And those definitely come last on my radar. My books that I am pursuing publication with must come first. But having a piece that I can share with readers is really delightful since I’m in between publications at the moment.

Of course there are plenty of other socials out there. TikTok is on the rise, for instance. I actually have one, but I’ve only used it to watch. I also used to have a YouTube channel, and it’s still up, but I haven’t updated it in years. I just didn’t have the time, energy, or technology to make that platform what I wanted it to be. And that’s okay. 

I’m a big believer in being on the platforms that you love the most. I also believe you should be spending more time creating art than talking about it. So, writing comes before socializing online. But that’s just me. 

For those of you who love stats, I thought I’d share my biggest referrals to my website: 

My biggest referring to my website by far was Google, and then the WordPress Reader. After that, in order, I have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, with others’ blogs scattered in between. Interestingly enough, these are a different order than what I prioritize. But that comes down to one fact: These are just referrals to my website. Of course WordPress Reader would be at the top, because my website itself is a WordPress site. That stat may seem interesting, but it doesn’t show how many people find me on Twitter and go to my Facebook or Amazon page, or vice versa. 

Basically, keep your stats in mind, but also trust your gut. You may not be getting the whole picture through behind-the-scenes numbers.

I actually wrote about this in July 2014, if you want to see how my socials have changed. Here’s that post. If I were to sum it up, I actually used to spend a lot more time online being social. Mostly because it was my day job at the time and I had books actively releasing. I didn’t like Twitter much, mostly because my timeline was full of spam in comparison to today, but I’ve definitely started spending more time on what I want to do rather than what I think I should be doing. 

How do you use social media as an author?

~SAT

Using the Later App as an Author: A review

3 May

I recently took a social media hiatus while moving, but during that time, I reflected on my social media use a lot. To be honest, I felt a lot better mentally and emotionally being off social media. (Not a surprise considering all the studies that have come out talking about the effects of regular social media use.) It’s not that I don’t like social media—I’ve actually met some of my best writer friends online—but reels of bad news, good news, all kinds of news absolutely uses up a lot of time and energy. I knew coming back that I wanted to change things.

For one, I wanted more time to myself. I wanted to get back to blogging more regularly again. I wanted more energy to dream up new book ideas, not tweets or Instagram posts. 

When I took a look at my social media use, I realized that Instagram—not Twitter—actually demanded the most of my time (and for the littlest return). Taking photos, editing them, then writing captions (along with viable hashtags) was just too much to handle on a regular basis. I didn’t like what I was creating, but I didn’t want to shut it down. I just wanted to adjust how I posted. 

I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule your Instagram posts?

That’s where the Later app stepped in. 

Later is a desktop and mobile phone app that allows you to schedule your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn posts. For the purpose of this review, I will mostly be focused on Instagram, with a sprinkling of Twitter and Facebook. 

First thing’s first:

I downloaded the app and watched a couple tutorials. 

Pros:

I got my first big hiccup when I connected my Instagram. It was a personal profile, so it wouldn’t let me schedule photos to auto-post. When I changed my Instagram to a business account, Later didn’t notice this change, and I had to reach out for help a few times. But it eventually began working. 

  • You can schedule your Instagram photos and stories to auto-post any time, any day. This cut back on a lot of my free time and allowed me to stay in the moment a lot more. I always dreaded taking photos and then sitting there trying to post while the moment passed me by. It’s nice going about my day knowing that Later is posting my photo at 11 AM while I’m at work and don’t have the ability to check. (And I don’t have to wait until my lunch break to get something out!) I definitely think this feature is my favorite part, and I believe it will keep me posting more than I was able to in the past. 
  • You can use your phone or your computer. I actually used my computer the most, which helped because I type on my laptop a lot faster than on my cell’s keyboard. I scheduled three weeks of content on one Sunday afternoon. 
  • The preview feature on Instagram is so pretty! This is probably my favorite feature. I can preview the future on my Instagram through the app to make sure that my upcoming posts look good next to each other. If they don’t, I can quickly shuffle them around until they look aesthetically pleasing. I’m not *quite* using it that way, but I’m definitely planning on using this to sharpen the look of my social media in the near future. You can see mine from last month in the screenshot below. That said, there is a negative side, which I cover below.
  • There’s a calendar where you can check your timing: This helps if you want to make sure that you’re posting at different times on different days in order to reach new audiences. 

Cons:

  • The preview feature is beautiful, but it doesn’t show you how your feed currently looks. Instead, it updates based on what you’re adding from the top, so the sequence is off. I find this extremely annoying (and odd) that this feature is set up that way, because it’s supposed to be used in a way that helps you coordinate your photos. This oddity in design is definitely one of the biggest drawbacks for me. In order to see my feed the way I like, I often schedule three posts at a time and/or add extra fillers that won’t post so I can get my feed to look the same as my feed on the phone.
  • Unless I’m missing something, you still have to edit your Instagram photos in Instagram if you want a specific filter. The Later app has different filters. I find this design really strange. It would be nice if it could offer the same filters as the app you’re posting on. 
  • It’s not the best for Facebook and Twitter. You have to use an image in order to schedule posts, so if you just want to post a sassy tweet, it’s best to continue using the Twitter scheduler. 
  • If you do schedule through the Later app to post a photo on Twitter, it shows that in the sub-text of your tweet. (My post says Later app rather than Twitter web, if I had just scheduled it through Twitter.) This isn’t really a complaint, aside from the fact your followers will know it isn’t live, which might cut down on interaction. On my end, there didn’t seem to be any difference in how it showed up in the algorithm, which is nice. 
  • You can’t upload videos unless you pay. Not a huge deal breaker for me, especially since other scheduling apps require money far earlier than this app does, but it’s worth noting.
  • You also have to upgrade in order to schedule stories.

There’s a lot more features than just these, but this is what stuck out to me as a first-time user. 

Overall, my only other complaint is that there’s no way to take notes. I really want a place where I can schedule all my social media from one place and take notes, so that I can reference that as I continue to build my schedule. I’ve used Hootsuit and other planners in the past, but so far, I just haven’t found the *one*. 

Maybe one day!

Conclusion: 

I will probably use this app for my Instagram and continue to use individual scheduling for my Twitter and Facebook page. 

Do you use a social media scheduler? What are the pros and cons? What do you recommend?

Also, if you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m @authorsat. Comment on any photo on my Instagram and let me know you found me via this article, and you’ll be entered to win a query critique! Winner chosen Friday, May 7.

~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

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#BadBloods Pre-Order, Prequel, and Book Trailer!

25 Apr

If you’re signed up for my newsletter, then you already received MOST of this lovely news, but if you missed it and wished you hadn’t, click here to sign up.

Bad Bloods is officially up for pre-order!

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Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Goodreads

It will only be for sale at $2.99 for a limited time. Once Bad Bloods releases, the price will go up, so pre-order soon to take advantage of Clean Teen Publishing’s deal. You can now read the first chapter via Wattpad by clicking the link! 

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.  

Watch the book trailer today!

During the next few months, I have some AWESOME releases coming out, including teasers and sneak peeks. Even crazier, I will be publishing a FREE prequel on Wattpad. You can read the first chapter—Adam—by clicking here. If you enjoy the story, don’t forget to vote and share. 🙂

Why a prequel?

wattpadAdamWell, before the Bad Bloods novels take place in 2089, twenty-four homeless bad bloods had to find shelter and safety in a city set out to eradicate their kind. Twenty-four. Which means there are a lot of characters in Bad Bloods. (Twelve kids in each flock, to be exact.) So, while their back-stories are mentioned in the books, the intricate details didn’t always make it through. These origin stories will not only show how the Northern Flock and the Southern Flock formed, but how Vendona treats bad bloods over a series of ten years. My hope is that this prequel shows everyone’s side to the story and ease readers into the story. These will also be great for readers who want to explore each character in-depth, so you can read it before, together, or after.

So how do I read these stories?

Read them with Bad Bloods or read them separately, but it’s probably best to read with or after. Since Bad Bloods is about Daniel, Serena, and Robert, their stories are purposely left out. All stories are put in the order of the year the child arrived and categorized by the Northern Flock and the Southern Flock, but the story may not necessary be told by that child. The tense might also change, depending on the speaker. More important than anything else, these short stories are how the Southern Flock and Northern Flocks formed before Bad Bloods takes place in November of 2089.

Some background:

What is a bad blood? A child born with hindering abilities. In Vendona, bad bloods are not considered human, and they are executed immediately upon discovery. Even parents are expected to report their own children. This was a law put in place during the Separation Movement, a war that took place in 2051 between bad bloods and humans.

What is a flock? A group of bad bloods who have managed to survive by coming together and living in secret. In Bad Bloods, there are two left: the Northern Flock and the Southern Flock. The Western Flock and the Eastern Flock have been killed.

What about A, B, C, or D? Any additional information about the city was left out of the prequel on purpose to keep suspense and surprise in Bad Bloods, but feel free to ask anyway. I might be able to answer or direct you to a spot in Bad Bloods that answers your question.

When will you update? I will upload a new origin story every other Friday.

Do I have to read this to understand Bad Bloods? No. Bad Bloods can be read completely on its own! These stories simply add to the experience. Example? In Bad Bloods, “gangs” are mentioned but basically go unseen. In the prequel, however, readers will get to see that side of Vendona and how it affected the characters’ lives before 2089.

Where can I read Bad Bloods? Anywhere books are sold! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, Goodreads, etc.

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming prequel and teasers! 

Let it snow,

~SAT

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting an event – the #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.

In other news, I will be at the 101st Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference in Kansas City, Missouri from April 29 to May 1! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re coming, so we can connect! I’d love to see some of you there. It’s going to be an absolute blast.

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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

One of my “Highs” as an Author

14 Oct

When I finished my last post, I received so many heartfelt comments, and I want to first thank those fellow writers and readers for their kindness and support when it comes to one another’s difficulties being an artist. I am, once again, reminded of how influential and inspiring the WordPress community can be. Thank you.

Now, as I looked back on my post, I knew I had to do a followup post about my “highs” because I didn’t want to only concentrate on the negative. I wanted to show how exciting and uplifting being an artist can be. So I’m going to share three exciting events that happened to me this week and how they made me feel–with all of the emotions that came with them.

Minutes Before Sunset will officially be in a store.

That’s right. Fluente Designs, an upcoming store in Tullahoma, Tennessee, will have all of the AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. novels on their shelves. The photo below are the books that will be shelved. This is an amazing feeling as an author. I have to admit that I’m beyond excited for this. The owner has also agreed to an interview (so look out for that) and I’m looking forward to be able to share another artist with everyone. I also think it’s natural for me to also feel nervous about this. This moment feels like Minutes Before Sunset is creeping up, spreading out, and reaching more readers that I couldn’t reach without Fluente Designs‘ support. A big thank you goes out to Fluente Designs. Who knows? Maybe more stores will follow their lead. That would be breathtaking.

AEC Stellar's FB cover photo

AEC Stellar’s FB cover photo

My Stats Spiked

Minutes Before Sunset had the biggest spike in Amazon sales since the release in May. It was #9,308 in the Kindle Store, but it also hit #649 in Fantasy and and #407 in Romance/Paranormal, which I thought was awesome, because they are such competitive categories.

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Although I’m truly happy this happened, I have to admit I have always tried to never pay attention to stats. I think they can bring people down a lot (because it’s much easier to go down than to go back up) so I’m simply trying to enjoy the moment while it lasts and hope that I can continue to see my novel get into more hands to entertain them. That being said, there’s a confusing emotion that comes with wanting to enjoy the moment and knowing you can’t stare at it forever (or even for the few days it lasts for.) So I patted myself on the back, smiled, and continued to look away from my stats, knowing it’s better to focus on my love for writing than seeing numbers rise, even though I am thankful for it. (Seriously thankful for it.)

Twitter Encounters 

I’m not sure why or how, but I logged onto my Twitter, checked my messages, looked at my interactions, and froze when I saw this:  T. Harv Eker, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, quoted me on his page.

TJarvEker

Following that, Shawne Duperon, 6-time Emmy winner and founder of Project Forgive also retweeted the quote and tweeted to me.

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Again, I have no idea how they got this quote. (It’s from November Snow, my first published novel.) But I can admit that seeing them on my Twitter Interactions made me rub my eyes like I’d stayed up too late and stared at my computer a little too long. I actually asked my father to read it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, which, for the record, I wasn’t. (Whew.) They made my day. Not because they’re celebrities but because they both used that quote as a list of inspiring quotes to encourage people to get up and pursue their dreams, and my ultimate goal is to inspire people to follow their dreams. By using my quote to inspire others, T. Harv Eker and Shawne Duperon gave me an amazing gift without even realizing it: a deeper hope and belief that I can help even more people. And, for that, I thank both of them immensely.

It’s been a strange week for me as an author. I started off feeling down, then I defeated a down, and I was met with numerous 1175490_2091842814335_794178008_n“highs” I could barely believe, let alone comprehend. It’s honestly reminding me a lot of creating plots for stories: a road trip where we know where we start, have a destination in mind, and a few places in-between we think we might visit.  But, this time, I don’t know where I’m going or how / when / if it will end, and these in-between places are making me realize something about my writing career: I’m starting to become more excited about the fact that tomorrow might meet me with a new writing surprise. I guess you could say I’m shifting the gears, enjoying the ride, and seeing where it takes me. All with my cat in the passenger seat.

~SAT

Wattpad: I Rejoined!

2 Oct

Almost exactly one year ago, I posted Website Wonders: Wattpad.com, and I discussed this wonderful website.

Wattpad is a FANTASTIC place where writers can create a profile, tag genres, share stories, and provide fellow writers with their work. (You can also connect it to your Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr). You can ask for in-depth critiques, make friends, and even get book covers, fan art, and encouragement from your readers. And, if you just can’t get enough, there is an APP for your on-the-go cellphone needs.

Personally, I met some GREAT writers, including poets, who gave me unique and structural critique that I found very helpful. But I closed my account on October 30, 2012. I had my reasons for this (mainly because I was in the process of publishing Minutes Before Sunset, and the original version used to be up there, and I didn’t want to spoil it for anyone.)

But one of my readers, Pau, brought me back to read her apocalyptic story, Under His Strings, and I realized how much I missed this great community. So I made a decision, and now I’m back. 

Here’s my Wattpad account. I’d really love to connect with you all on there, so I can read your stories. (You can also read an additional chapter of Minutes Before Sunset for free!) I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on there.

In other news: 

I’ve had the joy of being interviewed twice this week, and I wanted to share some more information about the interviewers:

Jacinda Buchmann, author of Indigo Incite I feel very lucky to know such a talented author. Not only did she interview me, but she also introduced me to Author Natasha Hanova, a wonderful author in my area. So check out this great lady! You won’t be disappointed. Find out how MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET is different from other YA paranormal books by clicking here.

A Latoya Charlton, host of The Other Side of Paradise: I first came across Charlton via Twitter, and we’ve struck up a great conversation since. This interview was a wonderful experience, and I really enjoyed how unique her questions were. Find out how I describe my readers by clicking here. She also posted a 5-star review: “You cannot deny the chemistry between Eric and Jess; and the strength of their love made me burst into tears numerous times (what can I say, I’m a sucker!). It was a wonderful (and somewhat heartbreaking) love story that left me wanting more. It was well thought of and I am excited for what book two holds. Kudos to the author for such an amazing tale.”

Other recent reviewers I want to thank:

Fetching Figment: “Her unique perspective and prose lead to complete immersion. ‘Silence split the distance between us’ made me feel as though I was right there with them, eager to say something– anything! But I wasblown away when Eric described his transformation into Shoman as ‘I fell out of myself.’ That line was utterly beautiful, and it completely captured the essence of being a teen– ever-shifting styles and interests– falling in and out of one’s self.”

Samantha (Goodreads) “Minutes Before Sunset was not like your everyday paranormal story. It was different and so refreshing to read.”

Thank you for all of your continuous support!

I’m still giving away free ebooks in exchange for an honest review, and don’t forget that YOU–yes, you–can win over 20 novels in this Giveaway (U.S. Residents Only)

~SAT

Writing Tips: Mother’s Day & Childhood Inspiration

12 May

Now, I have to admit that I’m unsure if this qualifies as “writing tips” or not, but I can’t seem to think of another way to explain it other than to explain recent events in my life and how I got to this decision to post about this.

On Friday night, I was driving home when I was hit by a drunk driver. Everyone was physically fine, but these moments often make you take a step back and wonder “what if?” or simply reflect on life. It’s also Mother’s Day, and, as many of you know, my mother passed away in 2003, so there’s been a lot of personal reflection happening for me over the past few days, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how reflecting can help your passionate spark if you feel as if it’s about to die.

Happy Mother's Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

Happy Mother’s Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

But, first, If you want something short and sweet, I posted this on my Twitter, and many followers found it comforting. “Do you sometimes feel like chasing your artistic dream is hard? This will cheer you up: click here.” 

Now–the bigger reflection: I’ve had more experiences in this sort of stuff than I’d like to admit to myself, but they always cause me to look back, and my childhood is often where I end up. I cannot say why this is other than it’s caused by a “flashback” sort of a thing. I begin thinking about what I’m grateful for, who I love, what I love, and everything that moves me from one day to another. But I’m going to concentrate on writing, because I want to stay in the “writing tips” as much as I possibly can.

So what in my childhood moved me forward into writing? (And many of you already know about my mother’s death being the biggest moment when I was pushed forward into taking it seriously, so, again, I’m going to talk about something else, although that is essential.)

Favorite Books:

I think this can be very important to remember, but, even more so, to return to every piece once in a while and read. Include first books, middle school reads, and beyond. On days where you’re feeling down, especially about writing, returning to these texts can spark your passion again, easily and without any strenuous effort. All you have to do is read, and you might be amazed at how quickly you’ll return to your timeless love for language, even if the original texts are simple and/or wouldn’t spark interest today if you hadn’t read it before.

Mine, as an example, includes childhood novels about Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo, young-adult series by Meg Cabot or Lynne Ewing (specifically Daughters of the Moon), and adult novels, generally memoirs like Mop Men, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or A Long Way Gone. I can even return to literature I loved in school, my favorite being The Stranger.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

Favorite Writing Experiences: 

These moments can bring back the original moments that brought you the utmost happiness before other moments brought you down. You can return yourself, especially to childhood, when you first started writing and you didn’t have the stresses of publication or critiques. These memories, although little, are very powerful.

My personal example? In second grade, my short story about my two dogs, Milo and Max, won the class writing competition, and I got to read it to the class. I still have it, and the drawings and wording often makes me giggle, but it also lightens my writing soul. I go right back to that podium, when I was fearless, and I feel it transition to today’s time.

Others who inspired:

Think beyond the top five people who inspire you today. Try to recall the first few who you may not remember on a regular basis but know that they linger somewhere in your artistic past (meaning they’re also in your artistic self today.) Most of the time, you might remember one, but then you’ll remember more and more, and you’ll soon have a list of small instances that led to your wonderful path you’re on today.

My personal example here is my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Metcalf. She was the first teacher to pull me aside and encourage my writing. When I was first writing back then, I was started my stories off with “Hi. I’m Henry, and this is my story…” and she taught me to start in the middle of action. I wrote her a story for Thanksgiving Break, and it started with a turkey running wild through a grocery store. Looking back on it, it was cheesy and poorly written, but she returned, having read the entire twenty pages, and encouraged me more and more, teaching me what else I could do in order to enhance my words. I was nine at the time, yet her teaching lingers today, and I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful teacher in my life at such a young age.

My hope is that you may take a moment today (or any day) to reflect on the moments that have brought you here today and remember never to give up on your dreams! It may seem cheesy, but it is, ultimately, very true, and I’m sure many of you know this, but many also have fleeting moments of doubt, and we can prevent these by reminding ourselves of what matters: life, love, and passionate dreams.

I always tell myself to write with passion; succeed with self-discipline. 

This is my personal philosophy, but I’d love to hear yours as well. Share below and spread the dream to others who may be struggling at this very moment in time (whether they read this today or two years from now.) Words are timeless. Let’s use that to embrace the love of art.

Have a great and meaningful day 😀

~SAT

P.S. Goodreads Quote of the day:

I leaned against the desk, ran my hand over my father’s paperwork, and picked up a pen. Turning around, I shoved it into my father’s hand.
“What’s this?” he asked, raising a brow.
“You’ll need it to sign my death certificate,” I said, pain vibrating my veins against my muscles and bones. “Are we done now?”

Eric, Minutes Before Sunset

Publishing Tips: Marketing Your Book

21 Apr

Website Update: April 22: 8:00 a.m.: Shannon A Thompson Facebook Fan Page hit 200 likes today! Thank you 😀

10 days before the Minutes Before Sunset release (AEC Stellar Publishing) ! 

I know many of you are fellow authors or are working to become one, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to bringing attention to your work. (Especially since I’m often asked how I gained as many followers as I have) So below is a list of aspects to consider along with websites before you begin marketing (which I used myself to get where I am today.)

1. Readers: There’s no mistake that they are my number one is my list. Readers are vital to an author’s ultimate success. A writer could have the best publishing team for their story available, yet if they don’t have a relatable and entertaining story, an author won’t make it. The readers, in the end, decide, and that’s why I really suggest connecting with your fans as much as possible. Have an email they can send you messages, questions, and reviews too. Connect with them on all the websites below (don’t force them to join, but rather connect with the ones that are already on the sites.) Create a Facebook page they can follow (since many don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal Facebook, and I completely agree with that.) and talk to them on there. Figure out what they like and what they didn’t like about your book. Be willing to change. Be even more willing to help them change by supporting their dreams to become a writer or something else entirely. Personally, I love searching around the web for fellow writers, readers, and bloggers. I follow their blogs, and I often like or comment on material. That way, I find readers, rather than expect them to come to me, and I don’t expect them to follow back. They can reciprocate or not, because I’m coming to them as a reader (not a marketing writer) and respecting their work. If they check me out, and decide to support me, that’s great!

Oh! And never stop writing. Even if you're drenched in monsoon rain in the middle of an airport.

Oh! And never stop writing. Even if you’re drenched in monsoon rain in the middle of an airport.

2. Internet: Join as many social networking sites as possible for both yourself and your work. If you click any of the website below, you’ll be taken to my personal page, but you can see how authors and readers can connect through these communications. You can even join, too!

  • Have a blog: If you don’t have a publisher yet, you’ll surely run into this in the future. Blogs are essential in connecting with readers, so you’ll almost be expected to have a website. If you don’t already have one that you keep updated on a regular basis, I’d suggest creating a page with a blog. I update mine (this very page) every two days (three if I’m having a particularly busy week) with information on entertainment, writing, and publishing. This allows my blog to be focused but also fun to write and fun for others to read. 
  • Facebook: No one can deny how popular Facebook has been over the past couple of years. Even when you create a new profile, you fill out your “likes,” and that’s where authors and books come in.

    One part of my Interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield.

    One part of my Interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield.

  1. Author Page: Create a page for only you. This way you can announce all of your books, events, and other announcements all on one page. Personally, my author page has the most activity, compared to my individual book pages.
  2.  Novel Fan Page: This is purely created so fans can put your book in the “favorite books” section and/or follow news specifically about the book they enjoyed. I have one for both “November Snow” & “Minutes Before Sunset.”
  • TwitterTwitter is wonderful for finding writers and readers. Simply use a hashtag (#) and find anyone under the sun that is discussing the topics you want to connect with. I’ve also done an interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield, and I gained 200 followers in one days.
  • Publisher’s page: If you have a publisher, be sure to include their page, information, and more contacts. This allows your readers to see what you’re up to professionally, and it also gives them the opportunity as writers to see how the situations differ and work.
  • GoodreadsShelfariBoth of these websites are focused on readers. It allows a place for readers to connect and discuss what they thought about a book. Add your novel to join in on the conversations which include reviews, favorite quotes, bookshelves, lists, and trivia.

    Flyer used

    Flyer used

  • Amazon Author Central: For both published and self-published authors, you can control your author page on Amazon. This is wonderful, because you can connect it with your novels, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also announce events.
  • Linked In: This is mainly for professionals you’ve connected with: publishers, agents, cover artists, editors, etc. But I recommend joining it, because you never know which one of those very types of people may come across your resume.
  • All Author’s ListA free database that enhances your ability to appear on the internet.

Think about the internet this way: the more you’re involved, the more likely your name will pop up on a Google search. Don’t hesitate to spread yourself across many social networking sites, because readers go to many different websites to find authors.

3. Now Market! 

Now that you’ve joined the World Wide Web, you can start sharing your name and news all over. Without going into extravagant details on all those websites again, however, I’ll give other opportunities.

  • Find local businesses willing to support you. Print out flyers and share them with their customers. I have to thank Ice Fire Hookah in Shawnee, Kansas for doing this for me. It is very kind to know such a great group of people willing to support the arts.
  • Accept interviews, but also apply for them: Currently I’ve done five interviews for Minutes Before Sunset, and I’ve added them to my Extra’s Page: If you want to interview me, please don’t hesitate to send an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com
    1. Michael Fedison (March 11, 2013)
    2. Tim Flanagan (March 13, 2013)
    3. Dan Pantagram (April 16, 2013).
    4. Sezoni on Twitter’s #WritersKaboodle (April 18, 2013)
    5. The Magill Review (April 19, 2013)
  • Create Extras: This allows readers to interact with your work. I’ve talked about this before, so if you’re looking for ideas, visit my Extra’s Page. I also have 2 other extras coming this Wednesday !
  • Exchange Reviews: There are many authors like yourself that are wanting more reviews and buys. I’d suggest reviewing others’ works anyways, but if you don’t have a lot of time, I could understand why asking for them to exchange reviews is good. Try it out and see where you go from there.

I know today’s post was tedious, but if you have any questions or want further elaboration, comment below, and I will surely get back to you!

April 24: One Week To Go: Sneak Peek Chapter

Publishing News: Two Weeks Away

17 Apr

Website Update: April 18: 10 a.m.: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), join an interactive interview on Twitter with me (directed by Sezoni Whitfield) by using the hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, and/or following ShanAshleeT23. I’ll also be reading my poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art in response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit, “An Errant Line,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT)

Since there’s only two weeks until Minutes Before Sunset is released, I thought I’d share more updates and extras! Below you’ll find a soundtrack, fan art, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and an upcoming interactive interview on Twitter this Thursday! But if you’re interested in an interview I recently did: click here to read my interview with Dan Thompson. There’s plenty of new information on my upcoming novel to go along with this post.

Soundtrack

I know I’ve mentioned how I don’t normally write with music, so I want to clarify that this list is more composed of music I’d imagine would be playing in certain scenes and/or if Minutes Before Sunset was ever a movie. These songs, as much as I don’t listen to them while I write, connected with the moments in such a way that I couldn’t deny their significance.

1. Crystalized by the xx: This one is close to my heart. I’ve reviewed this band before for a reason. Their intimate sound and haunting words linger within any darkness, and it only seemed fated to use it for this novel.

2. 24 by Jem. Again, I love the instrumentals, but the lyrics was why I locked onto this one so hard. It’s about having 24 hours left to live, and since Eric has one year left, it was appropriate.

3. Bloodstream by Stateless: This was the song I used the most. Seriously. I played it 77 times (compared to the next most played at 62.) I loved how mellow it was, but I also loved how…well…lovely it was. It reminded me of heartbreak, but in an understandable way–something that didn’t seem unnecessary but remained in this state of bliss and sadness all at once.

4. Ricochet by Shiny Toy Guns: This was the type of music I always pictured Eric listening to.

5. As Much as I ever Could by City and Colour: I had a really specific scene for this song, but I’d rather not ruin it. I’ll hint that it’s right before the climax :]

6. Destiny by Vanessa Mae was the main inspiration when I started writing Minutes Before Sunset. Generally, I listen to music without words, because lyrics can distract me, but her violinist ways were perfect for what I was needing. I also used Cursum Perficio by Enya for the same reasoning. [But I’d rather concentrate on music I’ve used recently, rather than the music I used in the past when I originally wrote it.] Inseguirsi by DeLord was also big one. Another instrumental one. Full of rhythm that changes from mellow to intense. It was perfect to use initially when I had to start writing and work my way into my own rhythm.

7. Youth – Daughter: The lyrics describe the youth in a particular light I really liked, particularly within the love lives of the serious towards the others around the protagonists.

8. Wait for Me by Moby: I really pictured this song working with the dynamics between the romantic relationships that happen in the beginning of their initial contact.

9. All That I’m Living For by Evanescence: Not only do I LOVE Evanescence, but I really feel as if her voice, sound, and intensity is perfect for the storyline of Eric’s Dark and Jessica’s struggles, especially this song which involves the night.

10. Within Temptation by The Howling: I think I have a thing for women belting it over the instruments.

11. No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine: Who can’t love Florence’s voice?? So inspiring.

12. Cut by Plump: Like Bloodstream, I loved the mellow sound and the chilling emotions.

13. As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle) by DJ Tiesto: This was one of the original songs I used when I was in high school and writing the book. I used to drive around town, just listening to this song while imaging what could possibly happen next.

Fan Art

I love fan art! It’s so much fun to see what readers see from the words I used, and I’ve already received a few pieces from a group of people chosen to read my novel before the release date. This one is one of my favorites of Jessica Taylor:

"Jessica Taylor" drawn by Atheil Barker.

“Jessica Taylor” drawn by Atheil Barker.

Facebook Page

If you love Facebook (and love “liking” pages even more) Minutes Before Sunset now has a page. This isn’t my Author Facebook Page. This is strictly for the novel, and there will be extras as there is on my Author Page. Click this link, and like this page for the latest.

You can "like" Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

You can “like” Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

Goodreads Page

If you’re on Goodreads, you can now add Minutes Before Sunset to one of your bookshelves. Once it’s published, you can add your reviews, favorite quotes, and rate it. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on this novel’s website as time moves forward (I’m kind of obsessed with Goodreads.)

Goodreads

Upcoming Interview

 This Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST), Sezoni Whitfield will be interviewing me on my Twitter Page (Use the hashtag #WritersKaboodle to join in and ask any questions you’d like towards Minutes Before Sunset and/or publishing in general! You could even ask for more writing tips. I’ll be responding to anyone who tweets, retweets, and/or favorites our conversations. The interview is all about writer-reader interaction, and I’d love for you all to join in.

In conclusion: I’m really looking forward to these different opportunities to continue to connect with the writer-reader community. And I cannot wait to experience this future with all of you 😀

~SAT

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