Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Business of Writing for #MFRWauthors #amwriting

I’ve said several times that when it comes to marketing I feel like a toddler trying to teach a baby how to walk. That was why I joined MFRW, I wanted to learn how to market myself better. Oh I know the basics. I have a facebook page, a twitter account, a pinterest account, a blog my and website. I try to promote myself when I have a new release by visiting blogs and doing chats. I try to get reviews on my books. But I don’t know it all.

My forte is writing. I’ve been at it for years. I was a president for two of RWA’s chapters, the newsletter editor for the same two chapters plus I was the editor for the WRW’s magazine (it was a short lived magazine but it was beautiful). I’ve done programs and workshops on writing. I worked with critique groups. Now, I’m a senior editor for a small press. I still don’t know everything but as an editor I have seen things that let me know some writers could use a little help.

So that is what I’m going to post for the MFRW. Writing tips, editing tips, and formatting tips. Here’s one of my favorites...

I was attending a panel on editing and a new writer asked, “How many times should I edit my book?”
One of the authors on the panel paused for just a moment and then said, “Until you’re so sick of it you want to throw it against the wall.”
There is no set in stone amount of times. It depends on your manuscript. Do you feel it shines like a diamond? As you read through are there still parts that snag at you? Make you wonder if there is more you need to add? Only you can be the judge of that.

Let's Talk About It.
How would you have answered that new writer's question? How many times should you edit a book?

Barb :)
Barb will be posting a monthly blog feature "The Business of Writing".

Friday, July 18, 2014

MFRW Monthly Quote - July 2014 #MFRWauthor

"An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing. Defending our right to such time takes courage, conviction, and resiliency. Such time, space, and quiet will strike our family as a withdrawal from them. It is…. An artist requires the upkeep of creative solitude. An artist requires the time of healing alone. Without this period of recharging, our artist becomes depleted."
-Juila Cameron

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Find out more about her at her website, The Green Light District.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hey #MFRWauthors! Just LINK IT!

Let's talk about LINKING. My rule of thumb is when in doubt, just LINK IT! What am I talking about? Really, everything. All of your social networking accounts, blog, website, tumblr - literally everything - should be linked.  Because then you are doing the work once while your impact is huge. It's that easy.

Are there accounts you shouldn't link? Nope but there may be some more geared towards different types of posts. It's still okay to link them because there is always overlap and as long as you aren't spamming out oodles and oodles of promo, your goal should be to extend your reach (and sell more books).

Now time to get to work!
First and foremost, have your blog connected into your social media sites, particularly facebook and twitter. This means each time a post goes up on your blog, it automatically goes to these programs for you. Here's promo without anymore work than setting up your single post. You can set up these links in the SETTINGS account of your blog. Blogger allows you to link with Google+ also and I recommend you do it even if you do nothing else with Google+ (yet).

Link your blog to Networked Blogs on facebook. You can search for the app on facebook and select SYNDICATE to connect your blog. Here is another way for potential readers to find your blog and follow you. It is becoming more and more popular so jump on it! Doing this also means your blog posts are automatically sent out via facebook. If you have an author's page, you can even choose to have them sent there instead of your profile.

Other TOP TWO places to link your blog (that have a bit more to it than just linking):
Triberr - Build your reach exponentially. See my previous post with specifics on this site. This is a bit more involved than just linking though completely worth it.

Goodreads - Thousands of readers use this site. If you don't create an author's page and utilize it by linking, you are missing a big opportunity for networking regardless of the horror stories we see with reviews on goodreads. Check in about twice a week to see if you have any messages, reviews, etc. Most importantly, link your blog to post to your author page! See mine here.

Another place to link your blog is in search engines that give potential readers more places to find you. Most have widgets for you to add to your blog but some just simply place you into a database to be more searchable. My favorites are: BlogNation - BlogTrain - Blog Lovin' - Writing Blogs - Linky - AuthorsDb. Be sure to set up all your links in each of these - most require your blog rss feed so have that handy - so each time you post in one place, your information spreads out across the web.

Finally, make a list of all social networking sites you belong to or any on-line accounts.
Here are some of the most common: facebook - twitter - google+ - Pinterest - LinkedIn - tumblr - stumbleupon - YouTube - Picasa. Go into the SETTINGS options in each of these and be sure you have linked as many of them together (and with your blog!) as possible. There are other sites you might choose to use and regardless of which ones you choose, just be sure to link them.

Remember every time you link it, you reduce your work in half while doubling your reach.
I don't suggest you spend hours a day on these sites.
In fact, linking your accounts means your time spent on marketing decreases even though you are visible in more places. Once these accounts are established (& LINKED!!), you will need to do little more than your regular blog posts. A few of these places I mentioned take extra maintenance but it's minimal and worth it.

How does this help your business?
You will advertise to a wider audience as you increase your reach. You will write more because your time spent marketing will decrease. It's a simple case of Win-Win.

So, what are you waiting for? Just Link It!
And Keep Writing!

Paloma Beck is a Romance Author living a life of contradiction... she's a happily married carpooling mom writing erotic romance. It's almost naughty! Paloma writes full-time and has three series in the works with others on the fringes. Her books span both the contemporary and paranormal romance genres.

Paloma serves as MFRW's Blog Director.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Newbie World: Multiple Pen Names for #MFRWauthors

The Question is... 
Multiple Pen Names: Good idea, or not?

As writers, we know how important names are. We meticulously research our characters’ names, bandying
about ideas for each with the care given to newborns. And for those of us just starting out in the romance industry, this includes one of our biggest decisions: choosing our own name. We want it to sound romantic, but not porn-star, despite what my husband might think. And we also want it to represent our genre. Someone who writes historicals will probably lean towards something different than someone who writes BDSM stories.

There are many reasons to choose a pen name: our job requires us to protect our real identities, we don’t want our neighbors to know what we write, or even just to keep a distance between the interwebs and our “real” selves. But I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you might have already gotten past the first pen name issue, and now are tackling an even bigger one: do I need a separate pen name when writing in a different genre?

Like any good question, the answer is a little gray.

First, here are some reasons we might choose (or have the decision chosen for us by an agent or publisher):

· Our first books didn’t sell very well, and we (or the publisher) want to distance ourselves from that. A re-branding, if you will.

· Or, we are writing more books than our current publisher can publish/market (oh, what a nice problem to have), so some authors choose to go with a different pen name and avoid the contract issues by going to another publisher with a different series or book.

· We’re writing something that is very different from our “normal” genre – something that our fans might not be expecting. Even in staying within romance, if you’ve previously written sweet historicals and are now branching into grittier, racier, contemporaries, your fans might not be expecting it. This seems to be especially true if switching to a totally different genre.

· From Kim Harrison: big book retailers have a habit of purchasing only the same number of books that an author sold on their last release. If it was a bad release, then the store will only by that many books of the next release, but if it's an unknown author, the stores will buy more in the hope that it will be a blockbuster. So you write under a different name, and get a better shot at selling through your books.

Great. We know why, but now, how?

Like with our first pen names, here are the rules:

· Keep it easy. No hyphens, no strange pronunciations – you want it to be something that your readers can easily look up. Should be easy to spell.

· Keep it memorable. Jane Brown is probably not going to stick for someone. But I love the way, for instance, Kresley Cole rolls off the tongue. (Though I would say “Kresely” probably breaks rule #1. As in writing, know the rules and then break ‘em.)

· Keep it unique. It’s pretty easy now to do a Google search on names and see the number of hits generated. Don’t expect that a reader will use “author” when searching for you; you want to be one of the very few that comes up when someone searches for your pen name.

Here’s the thing that needs to be emphasized, though...
Each of these names needs to be managed. Think website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And while not every one of these needs to be an entirely separate account, you will have to have virtual real estate built up around each name; at the very least, a website.

You’ll want to think long and hard about your time management and how much effort it will take to keep up various other online personalities, Sybil. My other caution here is that readers read not just for genre, but also for voice. What I’ve seen on many reader forums while researching this topic is frustration from readers for a perceived lack of intelligence. They are fully aware that an author can write across multiple genres, and get frustrated when they can’t find a backlist because of a pen name. So I would just say here that if you do choose an additional pen name, make sure it is abundantly clear in your books’ bio so that readers are able to easily track you down.

Talk To Us.
As with everything, it’s a very personal decision. Let us know what you think – have you chosen a second (or third) pen name? What are the pluses and minuses?


Posted by Erin
Erin writes paranormal romances as Erin Moore and contributes to the MFRW Marketing Blog with her monthly column, A Newbie's World. Her latest book is a sexy minotaur shifter story set in Crete.

She manages two monsters and one unruly husband in Atlanta in between writing and main-lining chocolate and tea. Look her up on or, of course, on Twitter: @AuthorErinMoore.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Authors Making a Difference on Twitter #MFRWauthor @MFRW_ORG @AuthorNicMorgan

MFRW on Twitter 
On the first of July this year, author Nicole Morgan became the Twitter Coordinator for Marketing for Romance Writers. Please join us in thanking Nicole for her service to MFRW and to its members.

What does a Twitter Coordinator do? Here's the job description from the group files.

Twitter Coordinator

Like all staff positions in MFRW, the Twitter Coordinator and assistant are an unpaid positions. Either looks great, however, on a writing resume. The Coordinator needs a solid understanding of how Twitter works, and should be an experienced user. This position is a highly visible aspect of Marketing for Romance Writers.

Main duties (same for both positions):
Sign in as the owner of the MFRW Twitter account.
Share tweets requested on the MFRW street team.
Follow MFRW members.
Send tweets for the MFRW blogs.
Assist Pinterest Coordinator with sending tweets if needed.
Use lists on Twitter to make it easier for members to find and follow each other.
Launch and run a program to get MFRW members to follow the MFRW Twitter account.
Communicate with staff via email in the separate MFRW Staff Yahoo group.
Other duties:
Attend staff meetings with other members of the MFRW staff (approx every four weeks) using Google Hangouts or other software as decided by the staff.
Time involved: one hour per week, slightly more for attending staff meetings. Total time invested is up to the individual.

The MFRW Twitter account is registered under the MFRW Admin Email.
As you can see, there's plenty to do, and Nicole needs help. We're looking for an assistant who can do pretty much the same thing. Having help means Nicole gets to take time off, attend conferences, meeting writing and editing deadlines, and so on. If you're interested, please apply by emailing mfrwstaff-ownerATyahoogroupsDOTcom.
We've seen an increase in followers, and we are busy sending out messages for our members. The MFRW Pinterest account also shares tweets. When our members' books are posted on our Pinterest boards, we tweet about it. You can learn more about MFRW and its benefits here.
We urge you to follow our Twitter account, and also the account of our coordinator. You can find us here:
Other MFRW Social Media
Marketing for Romance Writers

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Semi Rant Warning.

It seems I've posted endlessly about the misuse of Who, Which, That. I've certainly raged enough internally when I hear the words misused, which is all too frequently. Most of the time people look at me as though I've lost my sense of humor. No big deal, they might say. It's not as if the words aren't interchangeable.


Use which for things and who for people. Use that for things and, informally, for people.
Make it simple: Who is for people. That and Which are for things. The 'informally' seems to have crept into use fairly recently since the last time I checked the rule was very clear. The same as using 'laconic' to describe facial expressions, and now I doubt many people know the definition of laconic. I didn't when I first read it, and had to look it up. Looked it up again when a well known author used it to describe a lifted eyebrow.


Yeah, I sigh a lot. But then I read a gem, such as this by Doranna Durgin from her Sentinel Shifter book  Tiger Bound

Emphasis mine "She looked down at him, this man WHO had come for her, and at the monstrously huge creature THAT accompanied him—"

How perfect is that? The man is WHO the creature is THAT. And for those writers of Urban Fantasy with shifters, what better way to convey how they feel about their animals selves? If the POV character thinks of other shifters as WHO when they are in their alternate form, the writer is SHOWING the character is comfortable with their 'other' self. But if they use THAT, we would know they're really not happy about the 'monster' living under their skin.


And as far as using THAT as an extra word in a sentence, you might want to rethink. In the preceding paragraph I originally wrote: "...the writer is SHOWING that the character is comfortable with their 'other' self." Upon rereading, I removed 'that' as an extraneous word, slowing down the narrative. Sometimes 'that' is the perfect word but far too much of the time it's makes our writing cumbersome.

Think about it, especially if you write characters who are 'more than.'

What are your grammar gremlins? Let's grab a cup of coffee and rant on.

Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner who lives at 6500 feet and has been known to growl when hearing the English language abused.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Moderating the #MFRWorg Facebook Group—Keeping Track of Group Posts #MFRWauthor

As of this writing, the MFRW Facebook group is at 3,918 members. While I thought I might perhaps be announcing the 4,000 milestone marker with this post, it appears that will have to wait until next month. :) I won't be surprised if we hit it by sometime around the middle of next week. The group’s growth is still going strong!

For this post, I thought I’d mention a feature I discovered relatively recently that some group members and especially moderators may find useful. If you aim to keep up with the posts to a group, Facebook has a feature that makes it a bit easier. Each new time you visit the group page, Facebook indicates the point at which the posts on the page are ones you’ve already seen. It does this with a label that says “OLDER POSTS” in the left margin. The label is a bit subtle, written in shaded gray and in a somewhat small font size. Once you know to look for it, however, it can help you keep track of which posts you’ve seen and which you haven’t.

For me, for example, it’s a very helpful feature in moderating the content posted to the group. Before I learned of this feature, I used to haphazardly visit the group multiple times throughout the day and vaguely memorize when I had last been there so I could tell when I had scrolled down far enough that the posts were ones I’d already seen. Now, I click on the group listing from my home page feed and scroll down until I see the “OLDER POSTS” heading (often I’ll just do a Control/Command + F search with the word “older” to locate it quickly). Then I simply check the new posts by scrolling up the page until I get to the top.

For moderators, this makes keeping track of checking the group page content much easier. And if you’re a group member, this feature lends a hand if you want to be sure you don’t miss any posts. :) Do note that whenever someone comments on a post, that post automatically moves to the top of the group page, so if you see posts you’ve already seen amidst the new ones before you get to the “OLDER POSTS” label, that just means a new comment(s) has been left on it.

To learn what the “OLDER POSTS” heading looks like, you can go to any group of which you are a member (the MFRW one, for example :) ). At the top of the page beneath a pinned post if there is one, you should see a shaded gray heading that says, “RECENT POSTS.” This means that the posts that follow that are ones that are new since your last visit to the group, and the font and appearance of the “RECENT POSTS” heading are exactly like the “OLDER POSTS” one. If you scroll down far enough, you’ll eventually see the “OLDER POSTS” heading, indicating that all the posts below that are ones that were already posted the last time you visited the group.

Incidentally, if you haven’t been by in a while, you may want to go check out the MFRW Facebook group—holiday weekend sales and giveaways abound! For those who are celebrating U.S. Independence Day, I wish you a safe and beautiful holiday weekend. And for those who aren’t, I wish you a beautiful weekend as well, and you may want to come by and take advantage of the sales and giveaways of those who are! ;)

Thanks for reading, and until next month!

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Find out more about her at her website, The Green Light District.