Do authors need a blog?

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This is the question… Do authors need a blog?

The simple answer is no, of course not!

Phew. Okay, now you can get back to writing your creative masterpiece and ignore all the baloney about building a personal brand and having a community to sell that masterpiece to.

Okay, okay, so while you don’t need a blog it certainly helps when it comes to selling books (or laying down the path for people who like your writing and therefore might want to actually want to buy your books when you finally get them published).

I know that starting a blog can feel daunting but after all of my research and chatting to other budding/established authors I have to say there are some pretty compelling reasons to get on board with blogging.

It’s good practice – Rome wasn’t built in a day and everyone needs to be practice to be really good at their craft, even authors.

Blogs can give you a chance to hone your craft, test your material on readers before committing it to your book, find people who enjoy the same things as you and put your unique voice into the world.

The most important thing is keep it simple. Sign up to a free blogging site like WordPress or Blogger and talk about things you like, know or that happen around you. Explore your experience as a writer and share it with other people who are on the same path.

Give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

So what do you think? Tell me about your blog in the comments.

 

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How to cover a live event with social media

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How to cover a live event with social media – Byron Bay Writers Festival: Gearing up for a Social Media Storm.

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Don’t let my bird-nest bad hair or manic over caffeinated lip twitch fool you, last week I had the pleasure of covering  social media for the Byron Bay Writers Festival AND IT WAS AMAZING!

I have been working in marketing and social media for many years but I have only ever covered one other live event. Unlike my normal routine of carefully selected or crafted pieces of content, the three days of the writers festival were bananas. A heady mix of rushing between different tents across the festival site, listening to and distilling lectures into 140 characters and taking so many  pictures. It really  was an incredible experience, one which I hope I get to relive again next year,  and I definitely learnt a lot. So below are a few things I picked up from my own experience that you might find useful for your next live event.

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My advice:

1. Know your goal.

Are you trying to increase followers, create hype or provide timely newsworthy content? Maybe all three.

Speak to your client and get a clear sense of what they want from your efforts. Find out how many different platforms shall you be working across, where do they want you to focus most of you attention and what are their KPIs.

You can spend all the time in the world creating brilliant content but if you are not delivering on the clients specific needs you are wasting everyone’s time.

2. Be prepared.

Lots of little things can get in the way of you providing consistent high quality coverage for your chosen event. Some things you might need to know are: will you have regular internet on site? Somewhere to charge your computer/device? Are you working outside? What is the weather forecast? Are you managing a team or working alone? Can you prepare content ahead of time?

Just by asking a few simple questions I was able to adequately prepare myself for the challenges I was going to face. I also found that by having a clear list of the events I absolutely needed to cover, all of my official accounts set up and logged in on the night before and a map of the event site I could pretty much handle anything. Plus it gave me three less things to worry about on the day!

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3. Take s survival kit.

I’m not much of a survivalist, you only have to watch two seconds of Doomsday Peepers to see that, but a survival kit could save your ass. Depending on your role you could be so busy rushing between different parts of the event that you might not have time to think, let alone eat or drink. Having a small bag on you with a few items can give you the chance to sit through a particularly long session or whole event without having to miss any important details.

My perfect survival kit includes:

Water bottle
Notepad
Pen
Device- computer/smart phone/ tablet (I used an iPad and it was the perfect size and weight for me.)
Apple (fruit not a computer)
Chocolate

4. Finally HAVE FUN!

Yes yes, the quaint reminder to enjoy yourself at the end of the post. Clichéd sure but still true. Regardless of whether you are being paid or volunteering your time this is your chance to kick some butt and show the world what you can do. And if you are volunteering this opportunity could be the boost you need to get a professional gig playing with the social media we all know and love.

Good luck and let’s us know your tips below in the comments.

TED or how I get out of bed each day

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Hello, my name is Lucy and I am an addict.
My addiction started innocently enough – like many of them do – I was lurking around my inbox and on social media, procrastinating when I could have been writing (don’t look at me like that! We all do it) when a friend sent me a link to an innocuous little video and before I knew it I had fallen down the rabbit hole that is TED Talks.

Have you ever experience the phenomenon of Conference Buzz? The undeniable high that comes when sitting in a room full of clueless wannabes and being lectured at by someone who looks like a hipster version of Richie Rich? (Just me?) Well TED talks are like the cool older cousin who buys you beer of the conference world.

Sometimes quirky, almost always funny and forever informative TED talks are a great source of inspiration. Sure sometimes I can get a little buzz happy and wake up form a TED induced coma but hey, nobody said writers where not susceptible to flights of fancy.

Anyway, below is a talk by Comedian Steve Mazan and if you do nothing else today spend 15 minutes enjoying the buzz from this entertaining video.

Oh and please feel free to comments and share your favourite TED talks with me!

Plot, plot, plotting.

Whenever I am about to begin a new project the first thing I do is run naked and screaming around my house while thinking “WHY? WHY AM I DOING THIS AGAIN??!?!?!” When I’ve finally made myself horse and am lying on the floor panting, I decide to attack the bubbling new idea in my head with professional poise, I plot.

There are LOTS of methods when it comes to plotting and everyone has their own idea about how it should be done. The only thing I can suggest to you is to find a plotting method that works for you and run with it. I tend to follow two plotting conversations, the vomit draft and the three step program.

The vomit draft is when you lock yourself in a dark room and write everything that tumbles out of your head onto the page. This is great because it give a feeling of “doing’ something, getting words onto paper. The only problem is when you go back and read what you have written there might be lots of great ideas, but they are neither well developed or easy to rearrange into an actual book.

The three step method is when you answer three simple questions;

1. What is the motivation for my main charcter?

2. What does he/she need to achieve?

3. What happens if they don’t achieve it?

This is plotting at it’s most basic level, and of course you can make it much more complex but this is just a really simple way to get started on your story.

Plotting resources

  • If you haven’t heard of Chuck Wendig and his Terrible Minds blog then either you’re new, or you’ve been living under a rock for 20 years. Check out his stuff, there is some amazing advice if you are willing to read it all.
  • The Writers Workshop has a great article on plotting which is super handy, check it out here. Full of great tips this is a striped back version of Glen’s easy steps and it a bit quicker if you are in a rush to get started.

 

 

 

Pre Nanowrimo : The Two Week Challenge

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It is that time of year, Nanowrimo is just around the corner and this is the first year I am going to commit myself to the cause and try to write EVERY DAY IN NOVEMBER!

I am both excited and feeling slightly sick at the prospect of committing to such a long project but because I love to the feeling of mind controlled torture monkeys poking my exposed brain I am going the extra mile and commit to TWO WEEKS of blog posts as a warm up. So every day for the next two weeks you will be seeing something (I’m not promising anything good btw) from me on here. YAY!

At the end I expect I will look like this guy.

 

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