Monday, January 20, 2014

Your Digital Arsenal

My writing life includes a daily ritual in no particular order: caffeine infusion (coffee and/or chocolate), my girl powered playlist, searching out content for my Aspiring Author Daily e-newsletter, some encouragement from my Twitter tribe, and of course, writing. Today during my search for content, I came across a fascinating giveaway and two interesting book promotions that reminded me that attention must be paid to our digital selves, and that our arsenal must be plentiful.

The Domain Name Giveaway
K.M. Weiland is an accomplished author who shares principles of the writing craft on the Helping Writers Become Authors blog. Last week, she posted a giveaway that is insanely practical, but often overlooked by writers aspiring to become published authors. The prize: three free domain names.

Domain names help readers find you, and you in turn expand your reach by exposing your work to more readers. Here are a couple of sites that can help with domain names:


And, just for fun, here a couple of writers' websites that I stalk/envy/love:

www.sophiekinsella.co.uk (Commercial Fiction)
www.jamesmcbride.com (Literary Fiction)

The world of publishing has evolved, and digital platforms are key to publishing success. Digital is no longer a niche, but rather a necessity. So, if authors are offering their stories in digital formats, it stands to reason that readers should be able to find them and their books through their digital platforms--websites and social media--and that they should be visually appealing, user friendly, and refreshed accordingly. 

By the way, there's still time to enter for your chance at winning the three free domain names. The winner will be drawn Friday, January 24. Good luck!

Tumblr Book Promotion

Also in our arsenal are a range of social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and a few others I'm sure I've missed. Featured recently in Publishers Weekly, Random House unveiled how they used Tumblr to build buzz about a book without revealing too much about the plot. In preparation for the May 13 launch of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte), the publisher acted outside of the box and used a fresh approach to tease the characters, the setting, and the mood. The final product is visually enticing, memorable, and a promotional blueprint for novelists.


Facebook Book Launch Party

No party balloons here, but lots of bells and whistles. Designed to give authors exposure on Facebook through fan engagement, a Facebook launch party is an inexpensive tool to consider adding to your digital arsenal. Its purpose is simple: promotion. Book tours are a publicity staple for authors, along with press releases and author bios. A virtual book tour can help you engage with your readers on platforms where they are -- no driving to the bookstore, no rearranging your schedule, no long lines. Readers can access virtual book tours from their computers and hand-held devices from the comfort of their homes, offices, cars, or wherever they are in the moment.

A Facebook Book Launch Party can be a component of a virtual book tour. It's easy enough to handle on your own, but could probably gain more traction if managed by a company that specializes in virtual book tours. 

I discovered the Cloaked in Danger Facebook Launch Party being promoted through the A Bookish Affair blog. I registered because the plot of the story is enticing, but also to witness how a Facebook Book Launch Party is executed on the platform. 

As an aspiring author, I would likely choose to let the professionals handle this for me. They have the contacts in place, and the staff dedicated to the work, and the experience. If you're like me, here are a few companies that specialize in virtual book tours:



Websites and social media platforms are a writer's digital arsenal. Finding the perfect blend to showcase our stories will forever be the challenge. Greet this challenge in earnest, and remember the perspective of Margaret Laurence: “When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”

Always,
Athena



Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Resolution Round-Up

I’m going to make this quick. This year I did not succumb to writing New Year’s resolutions, I did not make a pot of black-eyed peas, and I did not demand that the first person through the front door of my home be a man (family superstitions die hard). But I did spend an inordinate amount of time reading resolutions and advice aimed at writers, many of which appeared in my Aspiring Author Daily publication.

I thought you might appreciate a round-up of sorts. They are in no particular order, as I’m not out to sway your opinion – or your resolutions for the year. Some of them aren’t resolutions, but more resources to revitalize your writing life. So, here’s to life as a writer, setting goals and resolving to be better. Enjoy! And, Happy New Year!

Always,
Athena

~Shout-outs to all the bloggers featured in 
the round-up for sharing their insights~

Helping Writers Become Authors

Storyfix

WOW-WomenOnWriting

Brian Klems’ the Writer’s Dig

Guide to Literary Agents

HuffPost Books

Julie Hedlund

Writer’s Edit

Writers Write

Write By Night

Terrible Minds

The Walden University Writing Center

The Alliance of Independent Authors

All Things Writing

Bookmasters

Flogging the Quill



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Not Another New Year’s Resolution Blog Post

In mid-December, pop icon Beyoncé Knowles sent ripples through the music industry and her fandom when she released a self-titled album produced in secret, and complete with videos for every track. Just one month prior to Beyoncé’s devilishly released album, I, the aspiring author, shocked family, friends, and colleagues when I resigned from my high-profile communications position in search of a new professional challenge -- and some dedicated time to creative writing.

What Beyoncé accomplished should be taught in PR courses across the country; what I did should be possible for anyone who desires to devote himself or herself to a dream (even if it doesn’t work out as planned).

Now that I’ve crawled out on this limb, I’m going to go a step further with the re-launch of my blog…starting with this post. The blog isn’t new—its renewed—and it is not -- I repeat, is not -- my New Year’s resolution. Going back to square one with the blog now is just about timing and leveraging a moment.

Keeping with my commitment to share resources and my personal experiences on the road to becoming a published author, I am expanding the reach and depth of the content by inviting guest posts by published authors, editors, publishers, bloggers, agents, publicists, university professors, and other professional voices that can offer aspirational advice to writers.

There’s no specific schedule here, but new blog posts will be teased in advance. Comments are always welcome and encouraged, and I whole-heartedly invite suggestions for topics. I am but one voice in a tribe of aspiring authors, and we know that writing is such a solitary endeavor. It is my desire to build a platform where a community of writers can share and learn from each other. I know it’s not innovative, but it is sincere.

I recently began soliciting for guest posts through Twitter; that will continue. If you’d like to write a guest post, suggest a guest, or a topic, email me at athena@athenahernandez.com.

Also new for me, I just completed my first guest post on Scribbleweed. Please check it out—Kelley is amazing.

Maybe this will be a year of “firsts” for me. Stay connected and let’s see what happens! Happy New Year!

Always,
Athena



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