Creating an Author Platform #6

Hi de Hi campers!  Well, platformers anyway.  I hope that you are enjoying the series.  This week we are focusing on commenting, freebies, subscribing and Google Alerts.

Number 17 is commenting.  Comment on blogs.  Simple.  We all know how hard it can be to get comments on our blogs, so try commenting on those that you follow.  Ask a question, thank them for their blog post, especially if it touched you in some way, provide them with feedback.  Let them know you are following them.

I have two regular commenters – Zee and Cassie.  They are wonderful people who provide me with feedback.  Thanks guys.  I try and get out there and post comments on other peoples blogs.  The more comments you make, the more people will visit your own site, especially if it is insightful.

Create a freebie is No 18.  People don’t like handing over their email address for nothing.  So, give them something.  Give them a teaser, a taste of what you have to offer.  Make it something worthwhile for the subscriber, like a one of a kind story, only subscribers will get to see – helps them to spread the word when you do start getting a following.

Subscribe – get yourself on the email lists of other writers.  This is something that I have done, and I receive updates from Melissa Pearl, Nalini Singh and T G Ayer on a regular basis.  I also follow WPbeginner for tips and hints on wordpress, Your Writer Platform for information on author ideas and tips and hints, and Fiction University for a series of emails on writing problems.  I love being parts of these lists, because I get useful information, or first hand information – cover reveals, ARC’s, ideas and solutions to problems I might have encountered.

No 20 – Set up Google Alerts.  This is new to me, because I haven’t done anything like this before.  Google Alert is a free service that allows you to specify keywords or phrases that relate to writing, or romance writing and forwards the results through to you.  I set mine up for Romance, NZ romance writing, Catherine Mede.  Will be interesting to see what it comes up with.

Next week, to continue building our platform, we will focus on becoming an expert in our field, signing up to help out a reporter, following up on breaking news and pillar posts.


Author Platform No 5

I thought that I had this sorted out for last weekend, but no.  So instead of posting it straight away, I posted it for today instead.

No, we were up to Number 13 – which is quite interesting.  Google Adwords.  I looked up Romance and was surprised to see that 300,000 people search for this per day.  That is a lot of people.  NZ romance turned up nothing.  Zip, zero, nada.  That is sad.  Lets hope that RWNZ and myself can rectify that.  If you have a gmail account, sign in and go to Adwords, they will ask you to pay, but you don’t have to, just go through the exercise and then type in your search words.  You may find it very surprising.

Number 14 is creating a bio – highlighting your expertise and accomplishments.  I kind of have this – published in Masters of Horror Anthology, and another anthology, which I can’t really go into at this stage, but it will be coming out next year.  Writing articles for The Rural is also a point that I should add, and any competitions you have entered, especially if you got to the finals.  Also include here any online guest posts you have done and any speaking engagements you may have done.   I have updated my Works in Progress page to now be Written Works and WIP.  Go and check it out.

Number 15 – get some photographs done.  Incorporate the photographs in your writing, to get yourself out there.  I don’t have any recent photos of me, but I use one taken by my son at a friends wedding last year.  I like this photo, so have decided to make this ‘the one’.  I have tried to put it around all my social media sites so that they are all uniform.

Making a list of top 10 (or 100 or any number inbetween) of authors, bloggers, industry leaders is Number 16.  I have chosen to look at top NZ authors – which isn’t too hard, because I know a few of them.  They include T G Ayer, Cassie Hart, Zee Southcombe, Kris Pearson, Leigh Hunt and Melissa Pearl.  There are more, of course, but they are the ones that I want to follow.  I also follow Nalini Singh (whom I met once, and have a photograph to prove it!).  I also have bloggers that I follow, like Author Media and Your Writer Platform.

Next week, we have comments, freebies, subscribing and google alerts to keep us all entertained.

Monday Morning Catchup

Phew, school holidays are over and I might finally get some time to myself!  Ha, that’s a good joke.

I managed to find some time last week and got about 3000 words written on Curse of the Taniwha, so I have made some progress on that.  I have also started a short story – Beautiful Stranger which is based on some writing exercises that we have done at the monthly RWNZ meetings.

So, I can finally tell you about Cursed Love.  In March, I entered the Pacific Hearts competition, held by RWNZ for unpublished writers.  I was a little nervous, but it was writer feedback that I wanted.

Two weeks ago, I got the results back.  I didn’t make it to the top three, which had their manuscripts sent through to a Harlequin editor who will chose the top story.  The reason I entered this competition is because it is picked by readers.  Yes, readers read the story, and then they mark it, according to how much they enjoyed your story.

Marks are out of 85, and I got 82 and 83.  I was rapt with those two reports, but I also got one for 56/85 – and this is the one that has thrown me a little, because it says the total opposite of the other two.  Why does one focus on the negative rather than the positive?

Anyway, I have a couple of people reading through Cursed Love, and I will be shipping it out to a couple of publishers.  If no one is interested, then I will be self publishing it at the end of the year, and I hope to have Curse of the Taniwha to publish early next year.

I managed to get a couple of articles written for The Rural, including this one – Rural Hacks for Going to Town which is also the featured article.

So, as kids go back to school, I am hoping to find some time to do some writing, but I don’t know if that is going to happen, or be wishful thinking.

How do you make time to do the things you want to do?

10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge – Day 4

10-day-write-blog-challenge-daily4Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

Most writers have a few writing craft books they keep as reference or part of their tool kit. Books like Stephen King’s On Writing, or Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird regularly make many writer’s top lists. But there are many more now, and good resources being published everyday. What are your absolute favourites?

Plot & StructureI do have some favourites – two in fact.

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

This wonderful book was recommended to me by a couple of friends, and I always pick it up now and again and flick through it.  It tells how a plot influences the story structure and differences that plots require for different literature.  He gives you ideas on how to create plots, brainstorming plots, and methods with diagrams and charts.


Everything guideThe Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes.

I first discovered this book while checking out “how to write a romance” and came across a website which was pretty much based on this book.  I got so much from the site, I decided I wanted the book for myself, and I love it.  It has so many useful tips and hints on how to write specifically Romance, what is expected in a romance, how to create strong Hero’s and Heroine’s, creating sexual tension (as opposed to sex) and a whole lot more.


Write Your OwnWrite Your Own… by Compass Point Books

I discovered these through Scholastic Book Club and purchased one.  I enjoyed it so much, I purchased several others in the series.  It is aimed at early writers, but it has some really simple easy exercises and ideas on how to research information, brainstorm ideas, bring things together and write the story.  I have Fantasy, Mystery, Poetry, Historical, Adventure and Action.  Some of the books are repetitive when it comes to writing dialogue and reaching your audience, but it is relevant to each of the different genres.


I would like to say that I read lots of these books, but I don’t.  These are the ones that I have and I have purchased them for a reason.  There are lots of other good books out there too, so check out Amazon or your favourite book store for more.




Progress Report

pikuroaIt is well over the halfway point of SoCNoC and I have only just reached the halfway point of my story.  It turns out that I will run out of story before I run out of word count.  Hmmm, interesting position to be in.

But then the story is a Paranormal suspense Romance, and as such, I could add more of the paranormal in, plus there is another scene I want  to add in closer to the beginning, creating more tension between the two main characters before they actually do get it together.

However, the story will still not run to the full word count of 60k, nor will it reach 50k – and I don’t want to pad it out or edit it as I go, but I have found myself doing that in the earlier chapters, just to find places to add more to it.

Padding isn’t something I am comfortable with, but as a writer friend pointed out, just make sure I have the five senses engaged – sight, sound, taste, touch and feel – and that should add more words.  Some people will just write for the sake of adding word count, but that isn’t something I have done.  I like to follow the story rather than win the competition.  This is the second year I have participated since my depression – last year I did HalfNoc, and didn’t complete it.  I have unofficially won HalfNoc, but I wanted that Novel.

I’m not disappointed, in fact I love the story – yes, it is rough (very bloody rough!), but I have it down (and backed up!), so I have something to work with.

I still have 9 days to complete the challenge, and who knows, miracles happen all the time – maybe something will come to me in the middle of the night, or brainstorm with a friend.  You just never know.

Is it 1st June Yet???

pikuroaMan, I just can’t wait for the 1st of June.  Lots of reasons really, and none of them more important than the others, but there is a special reason that I am anticipating June this year.

1st of June is my father in law’s birthday, and it is also our wedding anniversary – 11 years!

But the real reason for my excitement is that, for the first time, in a couple of years, I am going to do SoCNoC!  And I mean I AM GOING TO DO IT!

I’m so damned excited about it too, have a wonderful story, have Scrivener all set up and ready to go, ready to start my Paranormal Suspense Romance – Cursed Love!

I have my goals, motivations, conflict, characters, settings and plan all lined up.  All I have to do it put fingers to the keyboards.  And I kind of have a plan – I work until 2:30 most days at the school, so from 2:30 until 3:10 I have 40 minutes of uninterrupted writing time… I reckon I could do a lot in that time.  There is also my lunch hour, if I decide to really isolate myself… have to find a quiet classroom somewhere for that one, because it can be quite amusing at lunchtime in the staff room.

But I guess, after two years of struggling with writing, I am so excited about a project.  I can’t wait to get started, and even though I want to start now… I am holding myself back, because otherwise I might run out of steam!

So I know what I am doing during June – what are you up to?


One of my goals for the last couple of months has been to plot out a paranormal romance

story I have whizzing around in my head.  Well, I can tell you, there isn’t just one… There are  four, yes FOUR of the bloody things all vying for my attention.

So a couple of days ago, I got out one of my precious notebooks (remember, I’m a notebookaholic, and it hasn’t diminished one little bit!) and I started plotting out these 4 stories.  And so far, I have actually had some success.

They are tentatively titled “Curse”, “Shunned”, “Earth Spirit” and “Time Traveller”.  Doesn’t that just make the creative juices flow.  And yes, apart from Curse, I pretty much have the others plotted out and I suspect, if I put a little effort in, I could write one next month,  but that all depends on Christmas plans etc.

That is why I like SoCNoC, and NaNo,though I haven’t participated yet.  It is one month (30 days) of intense writing, a chance to focus and that is my goal for the month, to write. When I don’t have that pressure, I don’t feel the need to complete the story, and I hate it when I have a story that lingers (hence Bloody Gothic Novel).

So if anyone else is planning to write for a month in December or January, let me know, because I could certainly do with a writing buddy.  Failing that, I will just have to wait until June 2013.

Anyway, having the 4 stories out of my head hasn’t really helped.  I now have fragments of dialogue floating around now too, which is frustrating when you are trying to plot out one story and a piece of conversation floats in, so you turn to the story, write it down, then another piece comes to you, so you go to the story and write it down.  I guess the madness is slowly coming back, perhaps I will be writing in no time at all.