How to Create Ripples – Part II

RipplesSo, what does a writer do to get their name out there?  That’s the question we all want answered.  Let’s start with something easy and not too expensive.  It’s so much easier now than when I first started writing.  With the advent of the internet, spreading your name out into the world is easy and inexpensive.  If you don’t already have a website, get one.  That’s the first place an editor goes when they receive anything from you.  They want to know that you’re really trying to be an author and not just a hobbyist.  Your website should contain your bio and a professionally done photograph of you for a minimum.  Also include a link to your blog or other social media pages.  Don’t overload yourself on the social media pages.  It takes time to update them on a regular basis and that steals time from your writing.  However, you fans do want a place where they can go to learn about you and interact with you, so pick one or two to use.  Then keep them updated regularly.

In addition to social media, the next thing I would do is get some professional business cards.  You can do some searching to find the lowest price but be careful.  There are some unscrupulous businesses out there.  I know of one place which offers an extremely low price on their business cards but, when you check your statements a few months down the road, you find they’ve charged you yet again for the same order.  And, once you finally get that straightened out, they do it again.  So be careful out there.  Business cards are a must.  Hand them out everywhere.  And, I do mean everywhere.  If you’re at a restaurant, leave two on the table.  When going through the local drive-thru, hand two through the window.  Pay your bills by check and insert a business card/bookmark or whatever you have into the envelope along with your payment.  Getting gas, go inside and leave a business card with the attendant.  As I said, leave a business card everywhere!

Start collecting email addresses for your newsletter.  Yes, you need a newsletter.  It doesn’t have to be a weekly or monthly event.  You could send out one four times a year or even twice a year, but you do need to start one.  For those who are published already, send out a newsletter each time you release a new book.  For those unpublished, send out one four times a year letting your fans know what you’re working on.  Keep them apprised of how hard you’re working to complete your book, what research you’ve been doing or what research problems you’ve run.  Build up that list continually.

Those are just a few inexpensive ways to get your name out there.  Start now to make your ripples and throw out some pebbles.  In next month’s article, I’ll give you more ideas to add to your ripple effect.

© 2016 Maggie Rivers

The Writer’s Inspiration Box

If you’re a writer you already know some days you just don’t have any new ideas. Maybe you don’t feel like writing because you’re exhausted after a hard day at work. That’s when an inspiration box will be an asset to your writing time.

It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a place to drop note cards into whenever you have a random thought about something you think you might like to write about someday. A drawer, a box – it doesn’t matter.

All you need is a box (or drawer), and a stack of blank index cards. I keep a stack on my desk, some in my purse, and some on my nightstand (because, if you’re like me, the best ideas often float into my brain when I’m drifting off to sleep or as I wake up in the mornings).

Once you have your inspiration box (or drawer) set up, train yourself to write down those ideas as they come to you and drop the card in the box for later use. I often get great ideas when I’m in the middle of another project.  I grab an index card, write down the idea and toss the card into my inspiration box. The idea is saved for another time, and I can return my focus to my current work-in-progress.

Then on those days I need an idea and I’m not feeling too creative, I just reach into my inspiration box for an idea. Inspiration for great writing is all around us; we just have to train ourselves to write down those ideas when they come to us and then store them where they are easily accessible.

Once I started using an inspiration box, my writing productivity increased. I no longer wasted my time trying to find some note I had written on a napkin and stuck who knows where. I’m sure some of those ideas were accidentally thrown out whenever I cleaned out my purse.

Now my inspiration box is full with snippets of writings about something I found interesting. Whenever I’m in need of a good idea, I just open the box and pick one.

What about you?  What do you do on those days when the new idea just doesn’t come?

How to Create Ripples

RipplesWriters are a solitary bunch. Most don’t like being in the spotlight. We would rather be sitting in front of our computers creating people, worlds and plots.

Once you get those people created and those worlds built, you have to present them to the public if you want your book to become a best seller. That’s where writers seem to have the most difficulty. Marketing and promotion. Two simple words that carry the proverbial “big stick.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally published, unless you are already somewhat famous, the traditional publishers aren’t going to throw their marketing/promotion dollars in your direction. You have to promote yourself until you become worthy enough that the big guys begin to notice you making a name for yourself. Then, they may decide to throw a few dollars in your direction and might even set you up with a book signing.

As an indie, you have to do the marketing/promotion efforts yourself also.

So, what does a writer do to get their name out there? How do you get noticed when you’re just a small pebble? It’s the ripple effect. You do a little bit here and a little bit there and watch the ripples spread. You can drop a pebble in the middle of a lake and eventually the ripples will hit the shore. The bigger that pebble, the bigger the ripples and the faster the people on the shore will see them.

So, get busy and throw out some pebbles. In next month’s article, I’ll give you some ideas of what you can do to start your ripple effect.
© 2015 Maggie Rivers

STRATEGIES FOR MAKING YOURSELF WRITE!

We, as writers, want to write but the paradox of the writing profession is we try to avoid that blank page.  We want to “have written.”  So, we find ourselves mowing the lawn/shoveling the snow, doing the dishes – anything to keep us from facing that whiteness of the page.  Therefore, we invent ways to “trick” ourselves into writing.  Here are a few you might try:

  • Try setting a quota of the number of pages you will write but make it a realistic goal.  This is the basic minimum.  You can write more but all you have to do is to meet your quota.  The extra pages do not count towards the next days quota.
  • Write to music.  You can put two or three CDs in your player and write until they have finished.
  • Set a timer for 30 minute intervals.  Stay at the keyboard until it dings.Take a short 5 minute break and then set the time again.

What strategies do you use?