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BLOGWORDS – Monday 7 October 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DARLENE TURNER

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DARLENE TURNER

 

IMAGINARY FRIENDS

 

Ever have an imaginary friend when you were a child? If you’re a writer, I’m guessing you probably did. Confession time . . . I had one too.

Pee Wee lived in our bathroom, and we had great conversations every day. He never failed to give me a laugh and help me with my problems.

Today, our imaginary friends are called characters. We knew it would pay off one day. What I love about these friends is we can craft them anyway we want—their physical traits, profession, who they fall in love with, etc. Creating characters is fun, but can also be frustrating and time-consuming.

But it’s worth every minute.

Why?

The more you know your character, the more they jump off the page and into your readers’ hearts.

Here are some tips on how to do make our imaginary friends real.

 

Visualize them. I’m a visual person and find it easier to give descriptions if I can see something in front of me. For my characters, I pick a person from my favorite TV show or movie and use them as a basis for my hero and heroine. I find a picture and post it on my board within Scrivener. Instant visual! However, be careful not to describe too much. You want readers to form their own image. This just helps me know my imaginary friends better.

Do a background check. Get out your FBI credentials and research your friend’s past. Where were they born? What were they like as a child? Teenager? Young adult? What’s their profession? Nothing is off limits. There are no sealed files in your investigation. Cross-examine and get out the lie detector. Know them inside and out.

Give them a quirk. Your main character needs a habit or trait that makes them distinct. It could be a phrase they repeat, an action they do when nervous or excited, or even an OCD characteristic. Perhaps your antagonist leaves the body in perfect form, ready for burial—hair combed, make-up done, arms crossed and in a prayer position. Whatever it is, make it unique.

Talk to them. It’s okay. Your family understands when you talk to your imaginary friends now. You’re a writer. It’s allowed. Sometimes when I talk out loud, it clears my head and gives my characters more depth. Try it.

Give them a secret. Shhhh…don’t tell it to anyone. Yet. Your friend needs something from their past, helping or hindering them. It forms an arc every character requires, so your readers will cheer them on. But tell their secret at the right time and place in your story.

Make them vulnerable and let them love. Everyone wants to love and be loved, which means our characters need to be vulnerable. Our characters can be stubborn, but at some point they need to open up and take a risk. Give them the chance!

 

Getting to know our characters intimately will allow our imaginary friends to become real to our readers.

And captivate their hearts.

 

What tips have helped you in developing your characters?

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. Her debut novel, Border Breach with Love Inspired Suspense, releases in April, 2020. You can connect with Darlene at http://www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

 

https://www.facebook.com/darlene.turner.902

https://twitter.com/darlenelturner

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#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Darlene Turner

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 30 September 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – JANE ANN MCLACHLAN

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – JANE ANN MCLACHLAN

 

DOWNRIVER WRITING

 

Plotting and pantsing are usually presented as an either/or choice. I agree with author T.I. Lowe who posted earlier on this topic, that both are needed. Creating a plot that is clear enough to give your story direction yet free enough to leave room for creativity and insight as you write is the best option. What is more important than plotting or pantsing, is doing pre-writing exercises to get to know your story.

I spend a lot of time on “pre-writing” before I write the first word of a new novel, and that’s what I teach my students. I’ve seen too many new writers start a project with great enthusiasm, believing they have a good grasp of what they want to write, only to have their story dwindle away by the fourth or fifth chapter. Sometimes this happens even if they’ve spent time plotting the action sequences.

 

Planning a novel involves more than just outlining a plot of the actions that will occur. I use a process I call “downriver writing” which involves a number of exercises meant to explore my idea, theme(s), characters, setting, and yes, the plot of my story. Because before I start writing I need to know what my story is so clearly that writing it is as simple as floating downriver on a raft.

 

With downriver writing I still have to steer my craft, but I don’t have to fight the current. I don’t have to stop and wonder where my story should go next, or feel like I’ve lost the thread of my story. When I write downriver, the plot flows naturally from the characters’ personalities and choices, so that every twist, surprise, and revelation seems right as it happens, and feels right to my readers.

 

The exercises I use are a kind of research on my story. I am tapping into my own imagination to chart the course of my story by thinking deeply about my characters, setting, situation, and plot. They help me delve deeper into the possibilities within this story, and the act of writing out my answers helps solidify my creative insights.

 

The protagonist’s journey begins when some event occurs to irrevocably change the protagonist’s situation. This is called the inciting incident. It forces the hero out of her previous life and starts her on her journey. Everything that happens in your story should flow naturally from that one incident, and from how your characters react to it, which is determined by their personalities and past experiences.  For this to work, you have to know your characters as well as you know yourself; you have to be able to predict what they would do and why, so well that it is unconscious and utterly believable to your readers.

 

The inciting incident is the only time you, the author, will be able to manipulate the plot. It is the one action that does not naturally flow from the characters’ prior choices and actions, but rather sets them all in motion. It must, however, appear to flow naturally from the setting and situation your characters are in, so you must introduce these in a way that will make the inciting incident unexpected but still believable.

 

For example, the inciting incident in The Hunger Games is when Katniss’ little sister, Prim, is chosen for the games. In order to fully appreciate this moment, the reader has to know how helpless, innocent and sweet Prim is and how much Katniss loves her. Suspense and tension over the choosing and the games themselves has to have been built up in order to climax in the calling out of Prim’s name. In the introduction leading up to the choosing, we see Katniss’ tension and fear. She’s had to put in extra ballots for herself to keep her family alive, and fears for herself, and for her friend Gale who has even more ballots in his name. The likelihood that Prim, with only one ballot, will be called is so negligible Katniss barely worries about it. The worst thing that could happen, in her mind, is that she will be chosen and her mother and Prim will be left to starve. Then— BOOM—something far worse happens – Prim is chosen.

 

And we’re off. Everything else that happens in the entire Hunger Games trilogy is a natural consequence of the choices made by the main characters in reaction to what happened before. If you really know your characters and their situation, after the inciting incident it’s all downriver writing.

 

So what do you have to know about your characters? Basically, each character’s attitudes and reactions will be influenced by four things: his background, his occupation and interests, his mood at the time, and his backstory (BOMB). These four things will affect how each character perceives what is happening, what they notice in a scene, how they interpret it and how they will react to it. For each character, you should know their background (rich/poor, rural/urban, large family/orphan, etc), their occupation and interests (a doctor or nurse will notice the way another character walks or looks and draw conclusions about their health; a fisherman or hunter will notice the sky, the sea, the landscape, and signs of incoming weather; a carpenter or engineer will notice buildings and possible structural problems); their mood (a character’s response depends on whether he/she is feeling depressed/happy, angry/loving, envious/admiring); and their backstory or past experiences.

 

So no, you don’t have to plot out everything that’s going to happen in your novel. You can pants it. Because if you’ve done your pre-writing exercises and thoroughly explored your story idea, setting, situation and characters, your plot will naturally fall into place.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Jane Ann McLachlan has been teaching writing and working with emerging writers for 16 years across Canada and the US. She has a Masters Degree in English Literature, a certificate in Adult Education, and she was a college professor of Creative and Professional Writing for over a decade. She has 10 published books, both fiction and non-fiction. Half of them are traditionally published, the other half are self-published. She has four award-winning novels and three of her self-published novels have been Number 1 bestsellers on Amazon. She is the author of Downriver Writing: A Five-Step Process for Outlining Your Novel and is currently piloting a mentorship program for new writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

            this one’s a little bit different…

Jane Ann McLachlan is giving away the first month (October) of her mentorship program for free, plus a detailed critique of the first five pages of your novel, to the first 12 people who buy her writing workbook, Downriver Writing, and can tell her the first sentence on page 60 of the workbook VIA EMAIL at jamclachlan@golden.net

Please DO NOT write the sentence here in the comments (it will be deleted)

Rather, email your answer to her at: jamclachlan@golden.net.

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Jane Ann McLachlan, GIVEAWAY

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 16 September 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – T.I. LOWE

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – T.I. LOWE

 

Planner vs. Pantser

Mapping out Road trips is a lot like Writing.

I consider myself a rebellious planner, one who plans but is ready to get off course at any moment. I take on writing a new book the same way I take on a road trip. Sure, a trip should have a designated destination from the get-go. That way the traveler won’t end up going the wrong direction, potentially getting lost and losing track of the entire reason for the trip in the first place. Same with a book. The reason/theme for the story needs to be determined before typing the first word. That way I know the direction to head toward.

But… Here’s the exciting part of a road trip as well as writing a book for me. The stops along the way can be more loosely plotted out with lots of wiggle room for spontaneity. I am a foodie and find it fun to research unique places to eat on road trips. No chain restaurants are permitted for my crowd. I think this is a good approach to apply to stories as well. Researching and coming up with unique angles to try out in a story will keep it fresh and interesting. I always have a few options saved in my notes, so I can easily change it up for whatever mood I am in. Again, the same with my stories. Loosely plotting so I’m not so dead-set on a certain chapter subject that I refuse to make adjustments that will improve the story and overall experience of the book for me as well as the reader.

Road trips should be fun and exciting. They shouldn’t be daunting and feel like work. I think strict schedules and plans can stifle the experience. Same with writing. I tell folks that writing is my passion, my hobby. I never want to ruin the fun and creativity of it with planning too strictly. Flexibility is key. Say for example: along the course of a trip, a road may suddenly become blocked due to an accident or for whatever reason. You have to be openminded before leaving your driveway that detours may end up being part of your trip. It can make for miserable traveling when you have an unwilling travel companion who gripes and complains when you have to take a different path than planned. Seriously, there is no fun in that and I’d want to leave them on the side of the road at some point along the way. I can’t help but visualize a reader wanting to do the same thing to a book when it’s clear the author didn’t take a chance in altering the direction of the story or trying out a unique angle simply because it wasn’t in their carefully plotted-out plan for the story.

 

Road Trip/Writing Tips:

 

Acknowledge Your Adventure’s Pilot

Seriously, road tripping and writing should be all about the free-spirited experience but with the right guidance. Before pulling out on the road for a trip, my family has prayer, asking God for his guidance and safe traveling mercies. I start each story in the same manner. I don’t want to do either without him or I would surely get off track and make a mess of things.

 

The Importance of Playlists

Another must for road trips and writing is playlists that help set the mood for the adventure. Gotta have some epic tunes to enjoy along the way. Music is all about experiencing the lyrics and melody. Music is my muse.

 

Enjoy the Journey

Often times, we can be in such a rush to get to the finish line of a project, a road trip, a novel, etc. that we forget to slow down and just enjoy the experience of it. A while back I found myself in a season of waiting in my writing career, so I took it as an opportunity to slowly write a new book. I savored each chapter without rushing, knowing there was no deadline, no expectation other than to simply enjoy the creative process. I have to admit, it was the most enjoyable book I have ever written. Side note: the novel is complete and just hanging out on my computer with no set plans on publishing. As much as I love sharing my new stories with readers, this has been such a freeing revelation not to have to do anything right away with it. When it’s time to share it, I will, but in the meantime I’m not fretting about it.

If we aren’t careful, life in general can become a burden instead of a blessing. Writing is a gift I have the privilege to do. I never want this to be a burden. My advice: plan loosely and look forward to spontaneity along the way.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Bestselling author T.I. Lowe sees herself as an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories. She knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. A wife and mother and active in her church community, she resides in coastal South Carolina with her family. For a complete list of Lowe’s published books, biography, upcoming events, and other information, visit tilowe.com and be sure to check out her blog, COFFEE CUP, while you’re there!

 

https://www.tilowe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/T.I.Lowe

https://twitter.com/TiLowe

https://www.pinterest.com/lowe0821/

https://www.amazon.com/T.I.-Lowe/e/B00I4Z5GV6/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7798899.T_I_Lowe

 

GIVEAWAY

T.I. is offering a signed Lulu’s Cafe paperback giveaway. Must be in the U.S.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 16 September and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 23 September. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, T.I. Lowe, #GIVEAWAY

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 9 September 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – LINDA KOZAR

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – LINDA KOZAR

 

Figurative Language—Words That Paint A Picture in Your Head

 

Can words literally paint a picture inside your head? Nope. But we use this sort of imagery quite often in both everyday conversation and in our writing. Let’s pause for a minute and think about our daily use of figurative language. And, just so you know, by “a” minute, I don’t literally mean that you should set a timer for “one” minute. It’s all figurative. But you already know that.

 

Figurative language is defined as a language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. Literal language states the facts as they are. “Just the facts, ma’am,” a phrase often associated with Detective Sergeant Joe Friday on Dragnet. Figurative language can transform a dull paragraph into an evocative narrative that helps readers to understand and visualize settings and characters, transforming ordinary writing into full-fledged literature. Some types of figurative language and some of my favorite examples are:

 

  • Metaphor—a comparison between things which are not alike.

The world is my oyster. You are my sunshine. Metaphors be with you.

  • Simile—similar to a metaphor but uses the words “like” or “as.”

Clean as a whistle. Funny as a barrel of monkeys. He stood out like a sore thumb.

  • Personification—ascribing human qualities to a non-human thing.

The sun spit in my eyes this morning. When opportunity knocks, you should answer.

  • Hyperbole—exaggerating in a humorous way to make a point.

She could start an argument in an empty house. Your snoring is calling the geese.

  • Symbolism—a noun with meaning in itself used to represent something different.

The word “Wuthering” means stormy. Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” describes the nature of the characters.

 

You have probably studied various constructions and combinations of literary devices in English classes before, but here’s a refresher:

 

  • Onomatopoeia—name something by imitating the sound it makes.

The burning wood hissed and crackled.

  • Alliteration—repetition of the first consonant sounds in several words.

Betty bought the butter but the butter was bitter, so Betty bought better butter to make the bitter butter better.

  • Idiom—an expression used by a particular group of people.

He’s as mad as a mule chewing bumblebees.

  • Synecdoche—a figure of speech using words that are a part, to represent a whole.

Bring home the bacon. Boots on the ground.

  • Cliché—a phrase that is often repeated and has become meaningless.

Cat got your tongue?

  • Assonance-repeating a vowel sound in a phrase.

“And stepping softly with her air of blooded ruin about the glade in a frail agony of grace, she trailed her rags through dust and ashes…” ~Cormac McCarthy’s book, Outer Dark

The words, “glade, frail, grace, and trailed” set the mood.

  • Metonymy—a figure of speech where one thing is replaced with a word that is closely associated with it. Crown in place of a royal person. Dish instead of a plate of food.

 

The subtleties of the English language seem to be inherent to native speakers, but a source of frustration for others who try to find logic or make sense of certain words and phrases. While writers cannot remove those challenges entirely, we can be mindful of our reliance on figurative language. The bottom line, sorry I couldn’t resist, is that figurative language should be used with more care and nuance than it is. Think of a dense, rich chocolate cake. The first few bites are wonderful, but the more you eat, sugar overload sets in and you start to feel a bit sick. Is it easier to proclaim, “You are dead to me!” or have your character say, “I hate you?” If you decide to use literary devices, choose your words carefully. Decide which emotions you want the reader to respond to. Anger? Fear? Love? In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character Gatsby speaks of the object of his obsession, Daisy, “The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.” The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson evokes a beautiful metaphor in this excerpt from In Memoriam, “Her eyes are homes of silent prayer.”

 

When you are “literally” writing your next book, consider bringing vibrance and imagery to your work with the use of figurative language. Be mindful that overuse can be overpowering. Try incorporating the perfect combination of figurative words and phrases to enrich your characters, settings, and storyline. Here’s hoping your next book will be so popular that copies fly off the shelves.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author of over 28 traditional and indie-published books, Linda Kozar, (www.lindakozar.com) is also a speaker, and podcaster (Along Came A Writer, Chat Noir Mystery and Suspense). Linda and her husband of 29 years, Michael, live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, their wonderful son-in-law, and Gypsy, their rascally Jack Russell Terrier.

 

http://www.lindakozar.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Kozar/e/B002BMEY8Y

https://www.facebook.com/linda.kozar

https://twitter.com/LindaKozar

https://www.pinterest.com/lindakozar/

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Calliope Ducharme is as breathtaking as the beautiful women in the portraits she paints. The young woman moves back to post WWII New Orleans shortly before her 21stbirthday to claim her inheritance and pursue studies in Paris. But her aunt dies suddenly, and her remaining guardian, Uncle Bernard delays the proceedings. Frustrated, she hires childhood acquaintance Louis Russo, now a handsome, ambitious attorney to represent her. Together they fight to win her estate and, in the process, unmask dreadful secrets about her uncle, who is poised to ascend to the throne as King of Carnival. Though she resists falling in love with Louis, Calliope’s heart begins to soften. Fragmented memories awaken in Calliope when she moves back into her childhood home, memories that flood her canvases, but she cannot make sense of. And her faith, long-buried with the loss of her beloved parents, springs to life again. But time is running out for Calliope as sinister forces conspire to destroy her reputation and her very life. Will she lose the man she dares to love?

Linda is offering a print copy of Calliope’s Kiss. (U.S. address only)

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 9 September and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 16 September. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Linda Kozar, #GIVEAWAY

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 26 August 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – PEPPER BASHAM

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – PEPPER BASHAM

 

You want me to talk about Street Teams?

ONE. OF. MY. FAVORITE. TOPICS!!!!

Why?

 

Because, my team is just super duper and I don’t know what I’d do without them sharing this writing journey with me.

 

I’ve had people ask me what works, but to be honest, I think the dynamics of each street team is different based on the members and the author. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all.

I’m a naturally engaged person. I LOVE chatting with my team and sharing information with them. That may sound exhausting for other people, but it’s just how I roll.

So, here are some questions I’ve had asked about street teams and I’ll give MY answers, but remember, those are just one perspective on a varying spectrum of possibilities for a team.

 

Why a street team?

Street teams, sometimes called influencer teams, are groups of people who help support you and your stories They can be set up as a team for each book OR as a team for you, as the author. Mine is set up more long-term than over each book, though they have to sign up within the team for each book release.

 

First of all my street team provides a great deal of encouragement to me. That might be the most IMPORTANT personal bonus of a street team – or it is for me, anyway. They are such great people. So kind and fun! And when I share sneek peaks or cover or ask their opinions, they are all so willing to share and celebrate. This writing journey can feel solo lots of the time AND it comes with natural insecurity, so having a team can be a real boost to the heart.

 

Secondly, and the main reason they were created, is for ‘influence’. Street teams help spread the word about your books. They share on social media, write early reviews, some create fun graphics to share, others offer opportunities to be a part of their blogs. It’s just a great networking opportunity…and did I mention I LOVE MY STREET TEAM!!!

 

How do I start one?

My street team came about fairly organically, if I remember. I’d been writing and involved in ACFW for a while before my first book debuted, so I had some nice relationships throughout the industry, but when my first book came out, I started paying attention to the bloggers who seemed to like it. Dawn Crandall, Julie Lessman, and Laura Frantz, who all read my first book, quickly spread the word about it. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

 

I started a private group on Facebook, and eventually approached bloggers and reviewers who seemed to like my writing style and asked them if they’d like to be on my team. Dawn announced on her team that I was looking, so that brought some too. I had NO script for how it all worked, I just wanted to have some fun sharing stories with people who liked stories…and that began my group. It started with about five people (Carrie Schmidt being one of those early guinea pigs…poor thing. And she still stuck around 😉 We kept things conversational and positive. That’s been my desire ever since.

 

Since my team has gotten so large, I do have a bit of a vetting process now, but I’m always looking for positive, book savvy people to include on the team.

 

What do I share?

Lots of things.

I share sneak peeks from my WIPs, graphics (and get their opinions), early book cover ideas, character pic inspiration, setting stuff…oh just lots. I usually ask their opinions on things too.

I love finding out what they’re reading – and sometimes we’ll chat about fictional crushes.

I also share life stuff and ask them life stuff too. Fun memes are always welcome 😉

 

What makes it work well?

If I had to list three things that seem to work for my team it’s:

  1. Engagement – Since they’re so willing to invest their time/energy into me and my books, I want to invest some of my time into them. Now, there has to be a balance with this, because there are 70-ish of them and only 1 of me, but it’s important to me that they know I’m grateful for them and their involvement in my writing journey. Time shows that, since I usually don’t have as much fun free stuff to send their way (or the $$ to do it). Time, consistency, and gratitude goes a long way, IMO.
  2. Positivity – It’s very important to me to keep the team positive and hopeful. That’s another reason why I make sure the people I invite match that ideal. It creates a much more enjoyable environment when people respect one another, bring joy, and spill that joy out on others around them.
  3. Secrets – I LOVE sharing behind-the-scenes stuff about writing, life, etc, that I don’t regularly share on social media. I can’t tell you more because…well…it’s a secret 😉

 

There you have it!

Bottom line!

I am SO GRATEFUL for my street team and just love them!

Authors really do appreciate readers! Your words and support matter so much to us!

Thank you for all you do to join us in our journeys and encourage us along the way!!

Pepper

 

P.S. Though I’m not accepting new members into my street team at this time, I DO have a Reader’s group on FB called Blame it On A Basham Book Reader’s Group. If you’re interested in learning more about me and my books, this is a great way…and there are some super people involved in this group.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.

 

https://pepperdbasham.com/blog/

https://www.amazon.com/Pepper-Basham/e/B00W0IZ1F4

https://www.facebook.com/pepperdbasham/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13561411.Pepper_D_Basham

https://www.instagram.com/pepperbasham/

https://www.pinterest.com/pepperbasham/

https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

 

GIVEAWAY

Pepper is offering a print copy of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge (U.S. address only) OR an e-copy of winner’s choice of Pepper’s books.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 26 August and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 2 September. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Pepper Basham, #GIVEAWAY

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 19 August 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – MESU ANDREWS

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – MESU ANDREWS

 

Does Every Writer Need a Street Team?

Authors write books because we have a passion for writing, not because we love marketing. But in today’s publishing world, no matter how talented the author or how large your traditional publisher—an author must learn to market. But who has time for marketing when we’re honing craft, writing books, and—oh yes, seeking first God’s Kingdom (i.e. ministering locally and abroad—Acts 1:8)?

 

A great STREET TEAM can become a fantastic partner in our writing journey.

What Is a Street Team?

Wiki says a street team is, “a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product.” In my experience, a street team is a group of people who love our writing so much that they’re excited to help us share it with as many of their friends as possible—in every way available.”

 

Street team members are “super fans” who are crazy about our books and don’t mind telling people so. They tell the store clerk, the dental hygienist, and their child’s teacher. When the store clerk, hygienist, and teacher become rabid fans, we can add them to our street team too!

 

Launch Team vs. Street Team

Launch Team

Though I’ve never heard an “official” distinction, in my experience, a street team is different than a launch team. My publisher gathers a launch team for a period of time to help market the launch of a single book. About three months before each book’s release, my publisher opens their own launch team applications (separate from my BFFs). Launch team members receive an advanced readers’ copy (ARC) of my book in exchange for an honest review on an online retailer of their choice. Since this is all done through the publisher, I often don’t even see the list of If you’d like to apply for a launch for one of Waterbrook Multnomah’s books, CLICK HERE.

Street Team

Distinctly different is my street team, some of whom have been helping me market biblical fiction (mine and others) since we released Love in a Broken Vessel in 2013. Many I’ve never met in person but have become close friends. The team is called, “Mesu’s BFFs”—BFFs short for Biblical Fiction Fans—and we promote the biblical fiction genre all year long.

 

Some BFFs have stepped off the team, allowing new members to apply and join. We’ll open applications for new members during the month of September 2019, and lock in our new team to begin Isaiah’s Legacy pre-release marketing by mid-October. My street team has been active for more than six years now, and their marketing power has become a crucial part of my marketing plan.

How Do You Build a Street Team?

I’m often asked, “How do you find people to join your street team?” I started with family and friends who loved my books. Then added their family and friends who became super fans too! But the goal is to reach outside our immediate circles of influence, which is the reason we require an application to join the street team. CLICK HERE TO VIEW 2018 BFF APPLICATION. We give existing members a chance to take a break and then fill their spots with new applicants to build a well-rounded team that reaches all four corners of the book-buying market.

  1. Book Bloggers/Reviewers (Individual or team blogs)
  2. Social Media (My main platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube)
  3. Online Book Communities (Goodreads, Litsy, LibraryThing, etc)
  4. Church/Community Influencers (On-site bookclub leaders, Librarians—public and church, Women’s ministry leaders, etc.)

 

With our balanced team assembled, we start pre-release promotion at least five months before it hits bookstore shelves. Independently (indie) published authors usually begin pre-release promotion much later but should consider assembling their street teams with the same balanced approach.

 

Since a street team is a group that stays together long-term, personalization and rapport is essential. Each member wants to feel like they know the author personally. A Facebook Group Page is helpful for this kind of team building. Occasional and informal Facebook Lives or Google Hangouts are also fun. Members want more than just a free book. They want the author to know them!

 

A team member’s goal is to promote a book in all four of the categories. If they don’t have a personal blog or aren’t a member of a book club, ask if they’d consider starting one. Make it a team-only contest and offer a $20 Starbucks gift card if a minimum of five members participate. You’ll build team rapport, and one thriving new book club could pay for that team prize.

How Many People Should Be on My Team?

I’ve heard of street teams with as few as ten members and as many as several hundred. If we’re with a traditional publisher, our team number may be limited by the number of paperback ARCs they’re willing to offer. If, however, the publisher shares ARCs through digital files (NetGalley, Book Funnel, etc.), the number of members is limited only by our time and energy to manage the team. Volunteer coordinators can help select, organize, and brainstorm BFF team selection and activity. I have found two coordinators and fifty-five members are sort of a sweet spot for my teams rapport and efficiency.

When Should I Begin Building a Street Team?

If you dream of publishing a book someday, start building super fans now with family and friends who love your writing!

 

If you’re seeking an agent or looking for a traditional publisher, build a street team into the marketing section of your book proposal. Your members don’t have to be super organized yet, but this commitment to marketing will make a good impression.

 

If you’re indie/self-published(ing), build your street team DURING YOUR WRITING AND PUBLISHING PROCESS. Involve potential super fans in choosing character names, settings, and cover options. Notice people who comment most and ask them to join your team!

 

Those already published with a trad house should ask the marketing department how building a street team might help with the marketing department’s planned campaign. Today’s publishers tend to enter long-term relationships with authors who take marketing seriously. My publisher even mentions my BFFs in my author bio—that’s how much they appreciate my super fans!

 

And, believe me, I love them even more!

  • A great street team loves your writing so much that they share it with as many friends as possible in every way available. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing
  • The number of street team members is limited only by your time and energy to manage them. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing
  • First step to build a street team? Get your family and friends hooked on everything you write. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing

 

 

 

 

Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter whose deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Andrews lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

 

https://mesuandrews.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Mesu-Andrews/e/B00424KQ4U

https://www.facebook.com/MesuAndrews

https://www.youtube.com/user/MesuAndrews

https://www.instagram.com/mesuandrews/

https://www.pinterest.com/mesuandrews/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3513697.Mesu_Andrews

 

 GIVEAWAY

51p3NKtbvwL._SY346_

Mesu is offering an e-copy of Isaiah’s Daughter, or a print copy to a U.S. address.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 19 August and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 26 August. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE.

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Mesu Andrews

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 12 August 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – EDIE MELSON

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY – EDIE MELSON

 

Book Launch Teams

 

What is a launch team & do I really need one?

A launch team—also called a street team, dream team, tribe, posse, road crew, etc—is a group of readers passionate about your book. These are people who believe in what you’ve written and see the value of sharing it with others. They agree to post reviews, mention it on Goodreads, share about it on social media, and of course talk about it in person.

 

In today’s publishing paradigm, finding a tribe of people who will advocate for our books is worth pure gold. There is nothing better than word of mouth for helping a book get off to a strong start.

How do I Find These People?

We find them anywhere readers hang out—online and in person. They can be reviewers, bookstore managers, readers and/or friends. Social media is a good way to spread the word that you’re looking for a team. The key is to find people who aren’t just excited, but will also be willing to truly help. The key is to get the ball rolling and people on the street team will recruit new members.

 

What’s in it for Them?

An author’s street team is a big priority. They always receive advance copies of the book (ebook or soft cover). In addition they get postcards, bookmarks, and other extras. They also get the inside scoop on a book and author they love.

In return, we as authors have a strong commitment to the people on this team. We pray for them regularly, stay in close touch and value their advice. They also get to make suggestions for promotions, blog posts, giveaways, and contests. Their input is valued and rewarded.

 

How do We Communicate?

That’s up to you. You can set up a Yahoo Group, secret Facebook page, or even a regular Google Hangout. The most important thing is the fact that it’s regular communication. Many of those on your street team will be there for multiple books.

 

Make a Specific Plan

One of the things I urge you to do is to come up with a detailed plan of how you’re going to interact with your team. I utilize a launch team for approximately six weeks. I find that people are happy to help out when there’s a specific time commitment, rather than an ongoing commitment.

 

Before I enlisted my team, I had a six-week schedule of what I wanted them to do and what I would be doing for them. Each week I had:

  • A message of encouragement (this could be a newsletter, email, or even a Facebook live if you’re doing everything through a Facebook group.) I tried to tie this encouragement directly to the content of the book. This works equally well whether the book I’m promoting is fiction or nonfiction.
  • A giveaway they would be automatically entered in when they participated that week.
  • Several pre-made social media updates for them to share.
  • A meme with a quote or Bible verse from the book for them to share.
  • Something they could do to raise awareness about the book in person (like visit a local bookstore or library).

 

The reason I had so many things each week is because everyone has different strengths. I made it clear that I never expected any one person to do all the things listed. I wanted everyone to do what they were comfortable with. By each one doing one or two things, the word spread rapidly.

 

By having this all mapped out at the beginning, it was much easier to manage in the midst of the excitement and busyness of launching a book.

 

Now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about launch teams and what experiences can you share?

 

Blessings,

Edie

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.

 

https://ediemelson.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Edie-Melson/e/B0060PWSPE

https://www.facebook.com/edie.melson

https://twitter.com/EdieMelson

https://www.instagram.com/stop2pray/

 

GIVEAWAY

Edie is offering a Kindle or print copy of Soul Care for Writers (U.S. address only).

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 12 August and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 19 August. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

 

 

Soul Care for Writers

Our lives are busier each day, and the margin we have available for recovery and peace is shrinking. Edie Melson helps you find Soul Care solutions using devotions and prayers and opportunities for creative expression. She has learned that sensory involvement deepens our relationship with the Father and gives rest to our weary souls. She will teach you to tap into your creativity. Reconnect with God using your tactile creativity. Warning! This book may become dog-eared and stained. Draw in it. Experiment with your creative passions. Learn the healing power of play. Allow God’s power to flow through creativity. Soul Care for Writers will become your heart treasure.

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Edie Melson

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