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Addictive Reads

Happy Tuesday, Scribe’s readers.

PJ Sharon here today, sharing my most recent group endeavor and plans for a bit of a shake-up here at the Secrets of 7 Scribes. One of the biggest surprises for me on this journey has been the willingness of other writers and authors to band together and help each other succeed. There is power in numbers, and group blogs, blog hops, multi-author contests and group events have proven that working together is a must when trying to reach a broader audience.

MOD_Author_Services_logo_72dpiOur resident marketing guru, Jennifer Fusco of MARKET OR DIE AUTHOR SERVICES, often talks about expanding our sphere of influence. But how do we do it? How do we reach new readers, get more reviews, find more sign-ups for our newsletters, and connect directly with people who want to engage with us in this crazy social media jungle? I’m sure there is more than one answer, but I’m thinking sites like ADDICTIVE READS are a great model.

When I was first invited to join the Secrets of 7 Scribes four years ago (gulp), all of us were unpublished writers, working our tails off and only aspiring to become authors. Now, a mere four years later, we are all published or contracted to be published soon. Not a bad place to be, but in this increasingly complex and ever-changing industry, we need to change it up here at the Scribes to stay relevant. Stay tuned for our upcoming metamorphosis!

Addictive reads-Button-Black-copy-259x300In the meantime, I’ve been hanging out with a group of “hybrid” authors ( a combination of indie and traditionally published authors), who are taking group blogging to the next level. The page is still in the creation stages and not all the author pages are completed, but feel free to pop over to the ADDICTIVE READS site to browse and check out all the great books available to readers, including a bunch of free titles. We’ve also begun a Beta readers and Reviewers FB page so avid readers can sign up to read books by these fabulous authors before the books are even released! I love this idea. (This is a closed group so you’ll need an invitation to participate. Let me know if you’re interested).

As for the Secrets of 7 Scribes, me and my fellow Scribes are in talks about how we can upgrade our page to become a more reader-centric site that offers more than just daily blog posts. We want to ensure there’s a reason for readers–as well as writers–to visit us every day. Of course we’ll continue to have pages of resources in our FAQ that you’ll want to follow if you are on the path to publication–our commitment to paying it forward–but the idea is to showcase us and our books while connecting to readers and offering incentives for loyal followers. I hope you’ll stay with us during this transition.

While you’re waiting to see what we have in store here at the Scribes, feel free to visit the ADDICTIVE READS website and like their FB Page to see what these award winning and bestselling authors have to offer.

What would you like to see here at the Scribes?

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Give a Hoot!

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here! I hope you’ve had a great week.

One quick announcement – The Undead Space Initiative is on sale now! Thanks to everyone who purchased copies. I appreciate it!

I’m always looking for new ways to use my time more efficiently. I recently signed up for the free version of Hootsuite (thank you Jennifer Fusco for the tip). Now, I received this information a while ago from Madame Fusco, but I was reluctant to sign up for YET another social media tool. I’d tried Tweetdeck and was completely underwhelmed and gave up using it.

With another book release looming in my future (and a huge bout of indecision about promotion), and feeling disorganized and out of control, I did what I always do  –  step back, assess, and organize.

My solution: give Hootsuite a try. So I signed up for the free version and gave it a whirl. (And yes, I do love that little owl logo – see here for my admitted owl obsession).

After the initial set up (which took about two minutes because I had to create and document another new password), I was asked to choose the social networks I wanted to connect to. With the free version, I was limited to five. I had a tough decision to make because I also manage the Scribes’ Twitter and Facebook pages. And I belong to several Facebook groups too.

In the end I chose to use my own pages for the trial run. So I hooked up my Facebook profile, fan page, my Twitter account, and my WordPress blog. Once I did that Hootsuite presented all my information on a series of dedicated tabs and then asked me to choose the “streams” I wanted to view.

 

Basically that means – how much information do I want displayed? For example on Facebook, you can view wall posts, news feeds and events (to name a few). With Twitter, I can view lists, mentions, the twitter feed, and sent tweets.

The best thing about Hootsuite is scheduling messages. Hootsuite allows you to add photos, documents, and links. Then you can decide the date/time where you want them to appear (FB page, Twitter, your blog).

I have to say – it’s pretty sweet. With minimal effort, I can now schedule my tweets etc. for my weekly blog posts or announce my latest buy link therefore saving me time. If I were to upgrade to the full package ($9.99) a month, I could use their bulk scheduler, connect to an unlimtied number of social networks, and more.

Hootsuite has other free features like analytics that I have yet to explore, but I’m taking baby steps for now!

So far I’ve had a good experience with Hootsuite and I would recommend it for those of you who are time-strapped. Especially if you are on a blog tour or gearing up for your next promotion. The scheduling aspect is my favorite part.

Anyone else using Hootsuite? Any time-saving tips you want to share with the rest of us? And if not Hootsuite what other time-saving applications would you recommend?

I’m an Incubator

Hello! Hello! Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

I’ve just come off a whirlwind tour of promotion: interviews, blog posts, advertisements, and my first ever author chat!

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself in the process:

1. I don’t like to answer the question “tell me about yourself.” I get all oogy just thinking about it. Here is what I said about my least favorite question.

2. It’s hard for me to answer “what inspired you to write this book?” – see my post on Julia Rachel Barrett’s site – You Want to Know What?

3. Devlin Ward makes a mean frozen mocha. If you haven’t met Devlin yet, he’s in Mystic Ink and he crashed my visit to Penny Watson’s Martini Club.

Show me the ideas!

4. I’m an idea incubator.

An incubator? Does that mean I harbor germs and diseases? Maybe lay eggs?

Not exactly. But the egg analogy is close. An idea is potential. Like an egg, you can use it to make numerous things. And like the whole chicken vs. egg question, many writers like to debate -plotting vs. pantsing?

There are a few rebels out there like R.C. Bonitz  who calls his method – half-pants plotting. Best of both worlds!

Over the course of answering dozens of questions and creating blog posts, the most common questions (besides #1 and #2) are about the mechanics of writing.

Everyone wants to know the process of going from idea to page. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that if I think too hard about how I write, it messes me up. So when people ask – how do you write?

My answer – I just do it. Really.

So that would make me a pantser, right?

Nope. Everyone knows by now that I don’t write without a plan in place.

Yes, this is delicious!

I just “do it” because I’ve spent weeks or months, incubating ideas. I ruminate, percolate, stew, imagine, mull, fantasize, whatever word fits the bill. Then I start the process of outlining, followed by writing.

Hence – the incubator.

I think most writers are idea incubators. Our methods of how we get those thoughts on to the page may differ (plotting vs. pantsing), but we all think about the story before we write it down.

Sure, some may sit in front of their paper or keyboard and be possessed by the Muse at that moment and bang out some pages or even chapters. But to complete a novel, you need more than a flash of inspiration, you need incubation.

So what do you all think? Is this a half-cooked idea like a soft-boiled egg? Or does this theory have merit?