Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Business of Writing: When should I edit?

Writing is a lonely business and there are times when we are our own worst enemy. How many times have you been working on your rough draft and found yourself searching for the right word? I have one question, Why?

When writing that rough draft you shouldn’t be worrying about the perfect word. Your goal is to get words on the paper. That’s it. When you go back to polish/edit your WIP is when you look at the words to see if they convey what you want them to.

Writing Tip: 
Don’t sweat the small stuff – don’t edit while doing that rough draft. Who cares if you use the same word twenty times on a page. That is something you can fix later. Just write. Let the passion take you over.

Bio: Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley  started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – whose 87 now, her husband and son.

Author Sites:

Monday, August 18, 2014

#MFRWauthor Monthly Quote - August 2014

"Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway."
-Robert Henri

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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Authors Should Blog About. #MFRWorg talks Blog Content.

So you have a blog but don't know how to fill your days. That seems to be the most difficult obstacle for most authors as they begin their blog. First, know that you do not have to blog every day. On average, writers blog three times a week. Second, remember to participate in memes - I mentioned these in one of my last Blogging Posts. And most importantly, keep your blog true to you and your brand. No two blogs should be the same.

  1. Share updates on your books.
  2. Serialize your writing by putting out a few chapters of a "free read" monthly.
  3. Share interesting information on your research.
  4. Provide character summaries.
  5. Host your characters for guest posts.
  6. Share inspiring or funny observations.
  7. Create a personal column to give readers insight into you as a person. For example, I write "Queen of my Kingdom" monthly about my family.
  8. Announce personal appearance, book signings and conferences.
  9. Share books you've enjoyed reading... or movies, if you're a movie buff.
  10. Host other authors in your genre. Make these more than promos. Perhaps a theme authors can participate in. For example, I do BOOKSauthorsREAD and invite authors to be my guests.
  11. Partner with other authors for a group blog if you don't want to manage your own.
  12. Participate in memes.

This is just a short list. Help us make it longer... what do you blog about that might inspire other authors?

Keep Writing!
Paloma Beck is a Romance Author living a life of contradiction... she's a happily married carpooling mom writing sexy 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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

#MFRWorg Newbie's World: #SEO for Authors @AuthorErinMoore

SEO for Authors
What it is, and Why it matters

As Newbies, navigating the internet can be one of the hardest things we have to tackle. And one thing that we can really use to our advantage – without doing any (well, much) work at all – is Search Engine Optimization. Put simply – we want people to come to us through Google.

Of course, there are the obvious searches – someone searching for us under our name or pen name. And we definitely need to make sure that the right “me” is being found. (See my other article on blogging and  Google + Authorship.)

But less obvious is how we come up in the organic results. We want our names, and more importantly, our books, to come up first (or second, or third – as long as it’s on that first page of results) when someone searches for, say “shaman romances”.

So how do we best set up our website for search engines?
First, we need it to be active. That means changing something every so often, even if it’s just the “updates” or “news” page.

Blogs count.  And, as we all know, we need to be producing great content for those blogs. But did you know that you should consistently be linking to other sites within your blogs? Or that you should be linking back to other blogs you have written? And, of course, it’s even better if a higher-rated site can site your blog. All of these things earn us higher rankings in the might search engine. For more information, try this great article on blogging for authors.

And, if you are writing blogs, make sure to name them something catchy. There are a bunch of tools that you can use to research this. Unfortunately, Google no longer lets you use its tool without an Adsense sign-in, but here are some other great tools for finding keywords.  

Privacy Policy: Here’s one that most of us don’t know about. You will have to drop in a little bit of code onto your website. The way I did mine was to just add in a small link to a hidden page on my home page.

There are a bunch of different (and free) sites out there that will provide you with one. The one I used was: It’s probably a bit more in-depth than most of us need it to be, especially as we are probably not actively selling anything on our website (processing credit cards, for instance).  Or, alternatively, an easy one:

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies.
You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings.
We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.
This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on Month, Day, Year. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here:

Disclaimers:  These are yet another layer of trust for Google. It can be something simple like: The views and opinions on this website are solely those of the author. Any advertising on this site should not be considered an endorsement.

                [Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, so don’t trust anything I write, either.]

Why does any of this matter? Because when our website comes up first, and people land on our page, then they have a higher likelihood of buying something – i.e., our books! It’s just another way to find readers, and if we haven’t done these things already, then it should only take about 20 minutes to implement them.
Let me know if you have any SEO best practices!

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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How We Spent Our Summer Vacations: MFRW Young Adult Blog Hop #MFRWAuthor

Blog hop time is fast approaching, and this one will be particularly fun. The focus is Young Adult, and the theme is Summer Vacations. Who remembers that first essay we had to write once we were back together at school? "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." Didn't it seem like every other kid had a cooler summer than yours? Especially when too many summers were spent relocating when my father was transferred to a new Naval base.

Who remembers those long lazy summer days? When I first thought of this blog, a movie from my teen years came to mind:  

Please don't check on when this movie came out so you can calculate how old I am. A gal's gotta keep some mystery going!

Those days are long past and now summer is the time when I have to figure out how to keep the weeds under control and wonder if we're going to get enough rain to be bothered to put in a garden. It's New Mexico, and rain is generally an issue. This year not so much, and fortunately I got that garden put together, sort of, just in time for the hail to take out most of my blossoms. Gotta love the high desert.

 Unfortunately this hop is only for Young Adult authors. As much as I'd enjoy writing about summer vacations from the POV of one of my main characters, I can't participate, I'll only administer. I'm hearing rumors of a really cool prize so I strongly recommend you drop by when the hop goes live later this month. We have some remarkable YA authors ready to sign up, you won't be disappointed, win or lose.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Preparing Artwork for Newsletters (Or Blogs)

How do you put together an award-winning newsletter?  Well, you could use Word and just write a lot, but that would be kind of boring.  What sets one newsletter apart from another is the use of artwork.  There are a lot of different programs out there that enable you to edit artwork.  I like IrfanView.  It’s free, and I find it easier than the Microsoft or Adobe programs.  Microsoft wants to store everything in the Cloud and I don’t necessarily want to store other people’s book covers in my Picasa account.  As for Adobe, I seem to have a mind-block when it comes to that program.  Don’t know why.

So, when I receive a photo, I save it to a folder I keep for my newsletter artwork.  If the author doesn’t send artwork, I go to her/his publisher’s website or to Amazon and copy it from there.  If I get it from Amazon, I’ll need to crop the Amazon info from the artwork.  To do that, I open the file in IrfanView.  I then click on the magnifying glass icon with the + sign until the image is large enough to work with.  Place the cursor at your favorite corner of the book, and outline the book.  Then go to edit and scroll down to “Crop selection,” and click.  If you’ve done it right, you should have just the artwork without the Amazon logo.

I like to keep all of my artwork at a uniform size.  I think 1.5 inches wide works best.  Book covers are usually about 1.5” wide by about 2.25” long.  Author photos tend to be more square.  And I think 150 dots per inch works fairly well.  So, go to Image, which is the drop-down menu right next to Edit.  Click on Resize/Resample.  You’ll see the boxes where you can set the sizes for width and height.  Make sure you click on inches or pixels—whichever you’re most comfortable with.  I usually make sure the “Preserve Aspect Ratio” and “Apply Sharpen After Resample” boxes are also checked.  Finally, I set the DPI (Dots per Inch) box at 150 or 300, depending on how dense you want your artwork to be, and how large you want your file to be.  The MFRW Newsletter is up to almost eight pages and will soon be over a hundred, so 150 DPI are plenty for us.

Save your artwork in its folder, and you’re good to go!

Now I’d like to introduce you to Emerald.  When our staff splits and we have an editorial section and an Advertising Section, Em will head the editorial side.

Emerald is an erotic fiction author and general advocate for human sexuality as informed by her deep appreciation of the beauty, value, and intrinsic nature of sexuality and its holistic relation to life. Her work has been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust, and she serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW). Read more about her at her website, The Green Light District.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Writing Tip: Prioritizing a Task #MFRWauthor #amwriting @kayelleallen

Writing Tip: Prioritizing a Task #MFRWauthor #amwriting @kayelleallen
How to Prioritize a Task 
Writers deal with shifting priorities all the time. If we have children, we put their needs before just about anything else. A spouse often comes before our needs. We face deadlines with books, with blog posts, with friends' expectations... you name it. There are always things tugging at us. Asking us to decide which is more important.

How do we decide? By putting them into a chart like the one shown here. There are four quadrants: Important, Not Important, Urgent, Not Urgent.

Important implies something that must be done, but perhaps not this moment. Urgent means it's something that must be done now. Not important means it can wait until a better time. Perhaps nothing bad will happen if we don't do it at all, or at least the consequence is something we can live with. Not urgent means it should be done, but can be put off.

What's the difference? An urgent task has a looming deadline or one that has passed. It can have a significant impact on your life. Important tasks don't have a deadline, but they have an impact anyway. Urgency is associated with time and impact. Importance is associated more with impact.

So how do you decide what to do first? Consider whether the task at hand has a deadline. Must it be done right now? Paying the light bill by a certain date to keep the lights on is an urgent task. Changing a burned out light bulb might be important if it means you can't see to pay the light bill.

Think of the Urgent and Important tasks as putting out fires. They are extremely important. Things could get worse if they are not handled now.

Important but Not Urgent tasks are things we do to be proactive. We can do them at a pace that allows us to spend "quality time" on them, without rushing. But they must be done.

Urgent but Not Important tasks are things we have to do right now (answering the phone) but that you might be able to shuffle a bit.

Not Urgent and Not Important tasks are things we do that don't add to our goals, such as shopping, playing a game, even some driving. These are more "time wasters" than productive items.
Tarthian Empire

Plug a few tasks into this chart and see how they fall. If they are not urgent and not important, they can wait. The urgent and important can not. Determine where your tasks fall in this chart and you will be well on your way to prioritizing your next task.
Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. She is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the owner of The Author's Secret, an author support company. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog
The Author's Secret