Grind On The Posts

To be a writer in a digital age can be overwhelming.

Being an independent author can be difficult. However, with the creative age you now inhabit, you have the added blessing of being about to put out posts as quickly as your mind can dream them up! With that said, in a visual data-rich society, you have to become comfortable with being visible.

There is no way around this.

Just like becoming a better writer only happens by writing, you get exposure for your work through social media!

Think of social media as an agent you can hire at-will.

But you have to work your platform. You have to work your work. In working your work, that includes social media. As I said before, it is the best use of your time to pick 1-2 platforms that you will or can consistently post on. And post to them.

Scheduling your posts can allow you to keep or modify your writing schedule. The goal is to write, and get your work seen by other people outside you personal fan sphere. The goal is to have work seen, commented on or shared. Becoming a writer on social media allows the unique opportunity to be seen an a professional capacity, while also being accessible to your particular audience or fan base.

Anne Rice has a Facebook page and she calls those at follow her page, ‘the People of The Page.’ On this page, she makes announcements, tells of special projects and book releases. Her assistant, Beckett, also sometimes posts for her as well! This allows those whom are fans of her work to have access to her, ask questions, while still being able to enjoy her work.

Facebook is used by more than half the world. So is Twitter and Instagram. Use all the tools at your disposal. Don’t let the world miss your genius because you forgot to post that you’re creating genius stuff!

Go forth and post!

Advantages Of A Writer’s Social Media Presence

As a writer, in the current climate, in order to be seen, you have to be willing to be seen.

Writing is not what it was a generation ago. There are more than one way to be noticed, to get an agent, and even to get published! With invention of social media, and the diverse platforms social media provides, there is more than one way to be noticed.

I’m an independent author, I get it. But the great thing about having and maintaining a social media presence is that you get to set it up! You dictate when you post, how often you post, and determine content. In setting everything up, it is best to have either 2-3 platforms you can manage. If all else fails, you may need to outsource or delegate (read: it is not a bad thing to delegate social media activity).

I know what you’re thinking. You’re job as a writer is to write. And you’re right. However, as an indie author, you will have to begin to craft an on-line presence; you gotta be seen. The quickest way to be seen is social media. The ultimate goal being visibility and attention; both as an author and for your work.

Here are three things you can do in short order:

Official Author Hub. This the page you have where all the announcements are made. This main page should have a nice picture of you and your contact information. This can be either be on Instagram or Facebook. But, there needs to be a place in the social media universe where someone can enter your name and you pop up!

Email lists. These are easy to set up through a dedicated email address. These lists announce new releases for your work, pre-order information, and even telling your followers ‘Happy Birthday!’ These lists provide engagement, contact and help to build your audience. Use all your tools!

Consistent Posting. Social media can be an ocean, and having consistent posting will keep you from drowning! This will require planning on your part and discipline. If you/your team post on Mondays and Thursdays, you need to post Mondays and Thursdays. This will produce reliability for your audience, as well as give those interested in your work consistent or fresh information.

The best part of being an indie author on social media is that you can craft your brand. The thing is, what do you want your brand to say?

JBHarris Writing Services Tool: Encouragement Pages

This is a new thing on JBHarris Writing Services. It is going to be used as a tool of encouragement and focus. Three times a week there will be posting to encourage you to keep writing.

They will range from the serious to the affirming, and sometimes funny. But the goal is always to keep you writing, fellow scribes and oracles!

Look for encouragement pages to start every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting April 10!

Research Made Yours: The Power Of Making Your Own Myth

There is a blessing in creating your own world.

And with all that creation, you need something that will hold it together. You need the thread that belief and myth provide.

When I began my writing career, I was in a sort of tailspin. I knew that I wanted to write, but I also knew that I wanted to write about a great many things!

(This is where I must plug the necessity for you as a writer to have a tribe or network by which you are engaged. It can be life saving! Don’t knock social media!)

I follow several writers on Twitter. None have been so gracious as the magnanimous Tananarive Due. She is a published writer (NYT Best Selling, mind you) and she teaches at UCLA. The fact that she would have time to even answer me, a struggling, have drowning writer in the social media ether was monumental.

I asked her about making time to write. I asked her about how she made time. I even asked her about research and work. Tananarive Due gave me a piece of advice that I will give to you:

“Make it up.”

She told me this in response to needing a myth, specific research for a topic. Her advice was if I didn’t see it, couldn’t find it, just make it up. Tananarive Due didn’t know that she had just shattered the glass ceiling of my imagination.

With imagination being my fuel and conduit to express my thoughts on the world, I did not know I could do that. I did not know I could make up what I needed independent of what I had seen in a book. I didn’t know I could do that–be allowed to do that!

In reminding me of what I am, of what I am allowed to do, that freed me is a writer. It let me explore with a more fearless stance. It allowed me to research, to read, not just to take as gospel fact–but to analyze. To bend. To reinterpret. To make my own.

As a writer, a teacher, I give you this same freedom. I free you from the staunch mechanics of your imaginations! You are a writer, so write. You have to absolute right to construct and deconstruct the worlds you create as you see fit! You must make up what you need, by simple virtue of needing it.

Go forth and create. Challenge your imagination, and see what the fruits are and become of it. Remember the guiding light from the Dark Tower of Stephen King as you do: “Do not come soft to the blank page.”

Why Writers Need Homework

Image result for homework piles

The imagination of a writer is a marvelous thing. It can be freeing, nonrestrictive and provide seducing conversation. Yet, as a writer, you must understand that you have to feed it.

What do I mean?

Well, the adage is that writers should always be reading. There should be an a book that you are reading, would like to read, and of course have a TBR list. Reading allows you to critique, critically think, and check out the competition. A writer needs homework. The greater thing? Unlike when you were in school, you get to pick the amount of homework.

If you like horror, you should be reading it.

If fantasy and romance are your jam, you should be reading it.

If you like sci-fi, it’s not enough to watch SyFy.

Reading is the simplest way to fuel your imagination. To stretch it! Find new things that you like. Find out what else you could branch out to and towards. What challenges you? What inspires you? Or, what genre or topic do you escape with.

Being a writer means you will have homework forever. This is not an exaggeration. This is the blessing and the curse of being a writer. There may always be a portion of you that is intrigued by something said, overheard or read. From that, the gears of your imagination may turn–even without your conscious knowledge. Don’t fear that. The homework is what you make it. The homework is to strengthen, to encourage and remind of you of this:

If you are a writer, you have to write.

Ergo, you need something to write about.

Do you homework, my scribes, poets and oracles. Do your homework.

[image from pcthandbook.com]

Research & Genre

When branching out into new genres, this is always going to require some work. However, but researching for a specific genre is another sort of work. This research allows you to see where it is your imagination may be naturally bent towards.

Anne Rice says it this way:

“Go to wear the joy is.”

In researching where your joy lies, it may take trial and error. It make take several changes for you to find your beat and bearings in it.

How you write for fiction isn’t the same as non-fiction.

How you write romances isn’t the same as how you write horror, fantasy or speculative fiction.

In finding your beat, you must know what the basic rules are in order to bend (or break) them to your liking.

In research, this includes writers groups and workshops. Research isn’t limited to Google, old wives tales and Reddit.

You’re a writer. By nature of profession, you get the freedom to change something and no one notice straight away. Use that to your advantage.

Research.

Rewrite.

Find what works.

Keep bending pages.

[Image from slideplayer.com]