Tag Archives: Fashion

Oh, tumblr, how I love thee!

PJ here, and I’ve finally found a form of social media I love! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy checking in with friends and readers on Facebook, but many of those folks are writers, friends, family, high school alumni, and adults who enjoy reading YA fiction, and it can often take up a lot of time getting caught up on everyone’s happenings. I engage in twitter on a regular basis, but as with FB, most of my twitter followers are other writers. After taking a Publicity 101 workshop with Heather Riccio recently, I was prompted to reach out more directly to my audience (namely teens), through tumblr. It turns out, tumblr is easy and really fun!tumblr icon 2 (2013_06_02 00_59_02 UTC)

I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to how I can reach readers and looking at where I’ve had my focus in terms of marketing and social media. Recognizing that I have to expand that all-important sphere of influence and try to connect with readers wherever they may be, tumblr was on the no-brainer list. It was highly recommended by my YA writing peers that tumblr and Instagram are the go-to locations for teens. For sanity’s sake, I chose only one.

I’m just getting started and I still have to work out a few kinks, but I really like tumblr. You can check out my new page here: http://pjsharonbooks.tumblr.com/ I will have to add my books to my page so readers will know where to find them, but I’ll add a little at a time as I figure out how to find teen followers. As with FB and twitter, it’s a slow build.

Tumblr is where I can post a cool pic right from my phone or computer, with a short blurb about the photo, about life, or about any number of things I think are awesome.

Basically, I’ll share snapshots of life as I see it—another way to share my message of hope with teens. I’ll post about my books as well, but 80% of my communication here is going to be about sharing pieces of me with teen readers.  You can add  a custom background, change fonts, and even connect your posts to FB and twitter, a great way for me to contribute to my brand on my FB PJSharonBooks page.

I realized a long time ago that blogging every day on a static website page was nearly impossible, despite the encouragement of publicity specialists who insist that consistent, frequent posts will garner attention and gain you an audience. Frankly, I don’t have the time or enough interesting, informative, or entertaining things to talk about every day. As it is, I currently use my web site’s home page as a way to keep readers updated monthly about sales, contests, and news about appearances. Keeping your content fresh and making your posts “value added” for readers is a challenge.  Blogs such as the one you’re reading now take significant time and effort and weekly blog posting is more than enough for most of us.

I figured a daily blog that literally only takes me two minutes to post would be a great way to start making a shift in the right direction. It’s kind of addictive and oh, so simple, I think I’ll be very happy there and don’t feel the need to explore Instagram at this point. I hope you’ll follow me or share with any teens you think might enjoy some clean, fun entertainment.

What about you? Have you tried tumblr? What’s your favorite mode of social media and why?

Additional announcements:

1.) The winner of last weeks audio book of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is Brenda Maxfield! Congratulations, Brenda! I’ll be contacting you to collect your FREE audiobook download.

2.) Readers have until September 11th to enter to win a FREE signed copy of WESTERN DESERT, book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy as part of a Goodreads giveaway. You can enter to win herehttp://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/61971-western-desert

Pictorials, Paper Dolls and Old Magazines

We went to Arizona to visit family over Christmas vacation. It was our first trip there ever and one of the highlights (among many) for me, was our visit to Tombstone, the town that didn’t die. I walked the streets of history that I’d only seen in books — pictorial histories, which I discovered years ago when I wasn’t writing, hadn’t been published, hadn’t a thought I ever would be published.

Pictorial histories put me in the picture. I didn’t have to have lived in that time and place to describe what I saw in those old photographs, I was writing westerns initially — five of my first nine books (I know — who would have thought) — so I relied heavily on pictorial histories (Before Barbed Wire is a good one) to describe how it was from those taken-at-the-time photographs.

I love them, don’t you?

When I veered into the Victorian era, I found troves of photographic histories on everything from harems to Sherlock Holmes’s London. I also loved the reproduction editions of the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues from the 1890s. Especially the house kits. I love floor plans.

And for clothes — I bet most of us have the Dover paper doll editions as well as their photographic histories of fashion. But at some point, it occurred to me that there might be a wealth of other kinds of paper dolls on-line : fictional characters, movie stars (from the thirties and forties), teenagers from the fifties, along with accurate depictions of the fashions of the times.

And then — old magazines. I found about a half dozen copies of Ladies Home Journal from the 1920’s in a basement we were clearing out. I pored over them for years. I added to that collection when I realized I could find more magazines from the 20s on-line — from any era, really. Is there anything more immediate than reading a woman’s magazine of the day? The articles, the advertisements, the fashions, the advice — personal and decorating … how different, how the same …

I haven’t succumbed to one of those “build your own” western towns or southern plantations. Yet. (I’m very tempted by the plantation, though.) I do have a Victorian house pop-up book that came complete with its own punch-out family. And lots of furniture. I haven’t set it up. Yet. I just like looking at it and imagining what’s happening there. You know — family secrets, secret panels, something the family album, ghosts on the staircase, eerie dreams, hovering fog, blanketing snow, a haunted attic …

Of course, a lot of this is available on-line. Call me old school. I like holding a book.

And of course, before we left Tombstone — I took loads of pictures. I don’t know if I’m ever going to write another western, but you never know: I do have a couple of ideas.. So — do I even need to say? — I bought all the pictorial histories I could find as well.
Do you love paper dolls, pictorial histories and old magazines? Do you ever use them? Do you have a secret source you’d like to tell?

My Secret, just between you and me: there are Downton Abbey paper dolls on-line.

Thea Devine is currently working on her next erotic contemporary romance — and readying those original backlist westerns for eBook release.

What to Wear to a Writer’s Conference

I have to get something off my chest. Something that has been plaguing me for over a year. It happened in May of 2011 at my local chapter’s conference where I was happily helping out with the editor/ agents appointments. Through out the day I saw dozens and dozens of writers nervously awaiting their appointments. That day was a total blur for me and I can barely remember all the people I saw. But one person unwillingly stuck in my mind.I don’t remember her name or what genre she wrote. But I do remember what she looked like clearly.

Always Always ALWAYS!!!

And it was because she wasn’t wearing a bra. I know. I know. Who the hell does that nowadays? But apparently this unfortunate person didn’t think to put one on that day before she left the house, deciding to let her not so little girls swing free. And to make it worse she wore a neon green fuzzy sweater and jeans to her pitch sessions. I am not making this up to be entertaining. This girl, no, woman dressed like that that day.

So what’s the big deal? Well, I’ll tell you. Conferences are the places where you network. That means meeting and connecting with new people. That means making a lasting impression. Editors and agents are the people a lot of writers want to impress. They can help make your dreams come true. Doesn’t it make sense to dress to impress? The last thing you want to be known as is the writer who didn’t wear a bra.

I’m no expert but I do love to get dressed for any occasion. So I have compiled a simple list of things that are  more do’s than don’ts.

What you should wear to a conference when you are pitching…

1. Always wear a bra. Always. Always!

2. Some people would suggest wearing what you would to a job interview but I disagree.No suits. It’s okay to show your personality a little, because that can reflect your writing style. You like bright pink? Wear bright pink. Just keep it classy folks and try not to look like a bottle of Pepto.

3. Jeans–I would usually say this is a definite no. Women have so many choices out there, that they can come up with something else without much thought. But I have seen guys rock a pair of dark denmin jeans, a vee neck and a blazer, and look put together and hot. But no sneakers!

4. This kind of goes with number one but keep your girls fairly hidden. You’re pitching your book not going on a date. It’s not the right time to put the ladies on display. And on the opposite side don’t dress like a schlub. Baggy and ill-fitting are just as unattractive as tight and revealing.

You CAN'T wear this to pitch in.

5. Try to wear comfortable shoes. I personally think most comfy shoes are not fabulous but you will be on your feet a lot and you don’t want to end up looking like a scene from Thriller by the end of the day.

6. No Hawaiian shirts. Seriously unless you’re in Hawaii, or you’re Jimmy Buffett, or eighty, find something else to wear. A polo shirt works nicely.

7. Don’t look like the wait staff. Meaning black pants and a plain white top. Or khakis and a plain white top. It’s boring.

8. Don’t wear distracting stuff on your head. In my personal life I’m a fan of pretty hair accessories, head bands, crystal encrusted hair pins, flowers, but they can be distracting especially when you are trying to have a conversation with somebody. (Or is it just the ADD in me?)

9. Also, if you have facial piercings keep those bad boys to a minimum. Tongue piercings are distracting. (And a little eww if you ask me. I’ve seen two friends get it done and… Shudder)

See what I mean? Eww.

10. And finally keep your makeup clean and simple. You are not going to a night club, and if you pitch at the end of the day you don’t want to look like a gooey mess.

 It’s scientifically proven that people are attracted to pretty people. Of course your writing needs to be up to snuff to get an editor or agent to sign you, but it can’t hurt to give yourself a boost in the right direction by looking great. You want to be a successful best-selling author, then dress like one.

And I have to give a little shout out to author Sara Humprheys who looks great and well put together from head to toe in every picture and at every conference. And Kristan Higgins who always has fabulous shoes and perfectly painted nails.

Oh and one more thing CTRWA is throwing FICTION FEST and there is still room left. You can register by clicking the Fiction Fest above.

So what do you think? Have any fashion advice to give? Disagree with me? Love conferences? Any and all comments are welcome.