Finding Your Genres #IWSG

It’s not enough to aspire to be a real writer— you have to be a writer OF something. That’s where genres come in.

A genre is a book-selling category. If you go into a real-world bookstore, there may be a section of science fiction and fantasy, a section of mysteries, a section of romance. In a big bookstore there may even be a bit of literary fiction around somewhere. 

Genres are the way most of us find stuff to read. We learn that certain genres reliably give us a good reading experience and other genres do not. We pick up Westerns or mysteries or thrillers or military SF or gothic romance or whatever other kind of book we have learned delivers the kind of story we want.

When you are becoming a writer, part of the job is developing a self-identity as a writer. And writers are known by the genres they work in— there are romance writers and horror writers and Western writers and science fiction writers. 

Of course there are writers who write in multiple genres, or who write a book in one genre but then write in a different genre— as in the case of Louis L’Amour, whose first published book was poetry and wrote many many Western novels, which are still in print today. 

But your writer-identity ought to have one or more genres connected to it. It’s not a limiting thing— you are still free to write and publish what you like— but it helps you think of which playing-field you will likely be working in. But how do you figure out what genre(s) to pick?

What Genres do you Read?

When you are reading for your own pleasure, what genres are you most likely to pick? Don’t be ashamed of what you like— even if your English prof told you that intelligent people only read literary fiction, that doesn’t mean you should feel bad for reading things you actually enjoy. Learning to be a good writer— of ANY genre— means a lot of reading since if you are a Regency romance writer you need to learn what current writers are doing IN THAT GENRE. It’s easier to do that reading if you don’t hate the genre!

What Genres do you get ideas in?

Some well-known writers enjoy READING in certain genres, but they don’t really THINK in that genre. They may read every science fiction novel that comes out, but their brains don’t come up with valid science-fiction story ideas. Or they may love historical fiction but not be able to do the massive amount of research involved. (I might want to set a story in the Roman empire but I don’t speak Latin well, and don’t have access to a library that would have the books I’d need for research or the money to buy a library’s worth of books about Roman history, so any mystery novel ideas I have where the Emperor Claudius solves crimes will have to remain unwritten.)

What Genres currently sell well?

This is where many aspiring writers go astray. They think the genre they love doesn’t sell or is too competitive so they randomly pick a genre that’s currently ‘hot.’ But if you think Amish romance or Dystopian YA is utter dreck, you will likely not be able to write in that genre in a way that fans of that genre will appreciate. 

But there is room for writing in popular genres in the world of writing. The top Gothic romance authors, when the genre tanked, called their books Romantic Suspense and kept on writing. Fantasy writers might try writing some ‘paranormal romance’ if that category is selling. Science fiction writers might try a ‘dystopian YA’ novel, especially of some of their science fiction novels have been described under that term. 

Even when you are a mere unpublished— not even indie published— writer, picking your genre(s,) reading in your genre(s,) and thinking of yourself as a future writer in those genre(s) is a good step towards becoming a writer for real. And that’s always a good thing.

What genres do you read? Get ideas in? Write? Publish? Are there other genres you might like to try someday? Share about it in a comment!

Yours in genre-identity,

Nissa Annakindt

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This was a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Need to know more about book marketing? Read ‘How to Market a Book’ by Joanna Penn. (Not my book, not a paid ad. Just a recommendation.)

Bashing the Big Names: An Author-Blogger Trap

One of the difficulties we face as author bloggers is figuring out what to blog. Writing about our current WIP may sap our writing energy and may put off readers as they learn about a book they can’t buy yet (and may never be able to buy if the writing project dead-ends.)

And self-promos to sell your books in print, and promoting the books of your relatively-unknown writer friends may make your blog feel too commercial to your readers. 

One answer is to blog about the big names in your genre or subgenre. This will attract the kind of reader who is already a fan of something in your genre and who might become interested in YOUR writing. 

Being a glowing fan of a big writer in your genre might be a nice move, at least unless the big writer turns out to be Hitler or Marion Zimmer Bradley. But being a detractor of a big name in your genre can be a problem.

I consider Orson Scott Card to be a big name writer in the kind of fiction I want to be writing. I actually like OSC and think he writes better than I do. But if I had the disdain for him that I have for some well-known writers, I might not mention it on this blog, and for a good reason.

When a little or new writer criticizes a big name, the readers tend to wonder if the little/new writer is just jealous. Imagine a writer of Christian fantasies for kids who accused J. K. Rowling of promoting ‘witchcraft’ to kids. The presumption of envy would poison any chance of readers actually believing the Christian writer had a point. (As a Christian writer who has experienced being a neopagan and a Wiccan, I would like to point out that I personally do not believe that J. K. Rowling did in fact promote Wicca to kids. Nor do I believe that Rowling’s Christian critics were insincere or motivated by jealousy of her success.)

Now, I am not the kind of person who tends towards feeling nothing but awe and praise for a big name writer. The last time I felt like that about about a writer, it was Marion Zimmer Bradley and THAT did not turn out well. (To learn about the MZB problem, get the book The Last Closet by Moira Greyland, MZB’s daughter and abuse victim.)

The answer may be to keep the criticism small and specific, and mention the good things about the writer as well. Writer X doesn’t write female characters that I find believable, but he tells an exciting story that keeps me reading til all hours. Writer Y had an explicit sex scene in a later book of a series that had previously been pretty clean, but I find her books endlessly re-readable, even the ‘naughty’ one.

The key is to turn your blog into the blog of a person well-read in your genre. OK, I myself will never be that. I’m often content to read a book in one of my favorite genres that’s a couple of decades old rather than face a new author that may be annoyingly politically correct and a poor story-teller to boot. But that’s just me. I’m sure YOU can do better.

Yours in bloggery and/or author-bloggery,

Nissa Annakindt

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Join me on MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/nissaannakindt

COULD YOU HELP? As a low-income person on disability, I’m facing some bill problems right now. If only a few people could buy my ebook, perhaps review it, perhaps share about it on social media, that would be a big help to me right now.

‘Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life’  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M

Blogging is Essential to your Author Platform! #IWSG

Let’s take a break from being insecure about ourselves as writers, and start being insecure about our Author Platform! Just for a change of pace. (This is a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop: Sign up here: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html) 

What is your author platform, anyway? A ‘platform’ is like the soapboxes cranks and crackpots used to stand on in big city parks while they lectured on their topic to the entertainment of the crowd. The soapbox helped the crackpot be seen over the heads of his (hoped-for) crowd of listeners.

An author platform today consists of the things that make the author visible. Let’s take the example of television personality and author Bill O’Reilly. When he had his own show on the Fox News Network, he was allowed to plug his current book at the end of his evening broadcast. He also had a web site for which he sold memberships in exchange for exclusive content— a web site he was also allowed to plug on his television show. And so his books sold well— because they were well publicized, and because they were good enough that readers were willing to buy the next O’Reilly book. And when O’Reilly lost his Fox TV show, he had his web site to fall back on, so I would imagine any books he writes continue to sell well.

The sad fact is, though, that none of US is going to be invited to host a TV show on a nationwide channel so we can have a good platform for our books. We have to build our author platform ourselves, plank by plank. And a blog is a key to having a good author platform.

Why? I have heard people say that they ‘blog’ on Twitter or a Facebook author page. Those social media may be part of an author platform— until Twitter or Facebook suspend or shadowban you— but they can’t fully replace a blog, for these reasons.

1. Authors are expected to have websites, and blogs qualify. You can use ‘pages’ on your author blog to have all the things that an expensive web designer would put into a static author website for you. And you can do it yourself, and for free on Blogger or WordPress . com. 

2. Tweets are fleeting, but blog posts are forever. A tweet or a Facebook page post has a ‘shelf life’ of a few hours or a few minutes. A blog post may be drawing in new readers for years. That’s making the most of your writing time!

3. Blogs can turn into books. Particularly in the non-fiction realm, a good blog can lead to a book contract. People have actually been asked to turn their popular blogs into books! Traditionally-published books! And even if no one asks you to do that, you can take a bunch of posts on a topic, ‘fix’ and redraft them into good shape and add new material, and publish or self-publish them as a book. (You could also just throw a batch of random old blog posts together as a book, but it might receive worse reviews because of being ‘episodic’ in nature.)

4. Removed blogs can be put back up. Now, I don’t know anyone who has had his blog taken down by Blogger or WordPress, while I know quite a few people who have had their Facebook or Twitter accounts censored, suspended or removed. But anyone who does as I do and composes blog posts on software such as Scrivener or Evernote can respond to losing a blog by putting the posts back up somewhere else. Does anyone bother to do that with their tweets or FB posts? If they did, would putting the tweets back up somewhere even be worth doing? 

You may feel that your own personal blog is a failure in adding anything to your author platform. But likely your blog is doing better than you think. I recently discovered I had a couple of readers that follow this blog by email! I never thought my blog was attracting readers as loyal as that. Also, your blog can become better over time. You can read blogging advice, as from Barb Drozdowich’s Blogging for Authors or from blogs such as Problogger, and make your blog better over time.

Wishing you happy blogging,

Nissa Annakindt

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Want tips to improve an author blog? Join my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

My new book: Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M

Can Aspie Authors do ‘Platform Building?’

When you finish a book, you’re not finished. Not in the author world of these days. You have to help market your book, even if you have a traditional publisher. And marketing means having an ‘author platform’ which means interacting with other people, perhaps in ways that are difficult for *Aspies to do.

So, what can we Aspies do to build our platforms? The first step is to know what we CAN do versus what we CANNOT, and what we have no opportunity to do. 

Examples— I personally am able to blog, to interact on certain social media, especially Facebook, MeWe and Twitter. I don’t think I am able to do podcasts as some of my author friends do— I would be too scared, my voice has gone weird since my slight stroke last year, and I don’t have any special video equipment. And I have never been invited on a television show the way Dean Koontz is frequently invited to be interviewed on The World Over on EWTN. 

Your personal situation may be different from mine. Perhaps you are able to be a YouTube star, or perhaps you can’t manage to do Twitter, you just find it too intimidating. It doesn’t matter. There are things you can do, or you can learn to do. Put your emphasis on those things.

There is one thing that most every kind of ‘platform building’ will involve— you have to think of what you do from the other person’s point of view. Other people are not committed to helping you peddle your book! You have to be interesting to other people, and make your book sound intriguing. And you have to learn to be interested in what is important to the other people, so you don’t come off as being self-centered. Seeming self-centered is a common problem with us Aspies, because when you are as socially isolated as we so often are, other people’s interests are kind of a distant and theoretical thing.

So— if your ‘platform’ involves having a blog, think about what problems your blog post might solve for other people. You might share how YOU solved a problem— perhaps in how you got Scrivener to work for you— only when you write it, think about how other people might be dealing with the same problem that you have faced. If you can provide the information to solve a practical problem, and perhaps share your personal experience in facing the problem, 

Aspie (and other) authors— what is your current author platform like? Do you have a blog, a static web site, are you active on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook, Pintarest or YouTube? What is the strongest part of your current author platform? What are you doing RIGHT? Share it with us in a comment!

Aspie-related greetings from

Nissa Annakindt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aspies – persons with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Want tips to improve an author blog? Join my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

My new book: Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M

Breaking Free with MeWe: Step One

Lately I would like nothing more than to be done with Facebook. It’s not just that they seem to hate all conservative and non-modernist Christians with a passion. They censor: one woman got in trouble with Facebook for posting a Bible verse about homosexuality. I have same-sex attraction myself, but I don’t see why quoting the ‘wrong’ Bible verse should get anyone into trouble. What if I quoted ‘Judas went out and hanged himself?’ 

I stay on Facebook because I have family members there who won’t move elsewhere. It’s actually the only means of communication I have with them because NO ONE CALLS ME. But what really made me hate FB lately is that I shared some news on FB about some recent medical tests I had which included a bad kidney test (and a GREAT A1c because I’m on low-carb/keto.) 

After this I am not only seeing ads on FB for a kidney disease recipe book (which looks high-carb,) I’m seeing it everywhere. So I’ve replaced my Google-based Gmail email address with one from GMX, and I’m (mostly) migrating to MeWe.

MeWe is a Facebook alternative which says it respects your privacy. So far, it seems to. The hard part is that after years of being on Facebook and accumulating Facebook friends, MeWe seems too quiet— because I don’t have enough friends there yet.

I’d ask you-all as my blog readers to friend me there (https://mewe.com/i/nissaannakindt) but many of you don’t have MeWe accounts yet. So, the first step is to start your MeWe account. Go to MeWe’s web site and sign up— it’s not that different than signing up for Facebook or Twitter.

Next, fix up your profile page. You will need a profile picture. I suggest a picture or an avatar of yourself, especially if you are trying to use your social media to promote your blog or writing career. If you are being deep-anonymous for a good reason, make a human-looking avatar that DOESN’T look like you. 

Your page also needs a cover image. You can use the same cover image you have on Facebook, or something similar. It doesn’t have to be the perfect cover image for you at first. You can always change it later.

Your profile picture, as on other social media, is seen next to everything you post. It’s the ‘you’ that your social media ‘peeps’ see. If you use a picture of yourself or an avatar of a human-like face, that makes you more relatable. It makes you a person and not a faceless person-or-thing behind a logo. 

Your cover photo can be all kinds of things. A picture of your family, of something scenic from your local area, if you are an author a collection of your book covers…. Whatever says ‘you’ and your social media persona well. 

You need to make a couple of MeWe friends to get started. You have a friend there already. My profile page is:  https://mewe.com/i/nissaannakindt  Make a friend request and I will accept it— unless your profile pic contains explicit nudity or something. Another way to make friends on MeWe is to encourage your friends from Facebook or Twitter to migrate to MeWe with you. 

Once you are there on MeWe and have a friend or two, post something. It could be a picture of your cat or dog, your opinion on what’s happening on General Hospital, or a rude opinion about your least-favorite political figure. Don’t worry if you don’t get much response yet. You are new to MeWe— it takes a little time to get into the swing of things.

Part 2 of this series will cover how to make new MeWe friends and how to join groups on MeWe.

MeWe-ly yours,

Nissa Annakindt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Traditional-Marriage-Support group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/group/5bca1f9c73a3f14e7c8572e5

My Traditional-Marriage-Support page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/defendtradmarriage/

Short Posts, Long Posts & Your Blog

When you are keeping your blogging schedule, there are two main types of blog posts you will be composing. One is the briefer and lighter short post. The other is the more comprehensive long post. Most of your posts will be short posts. Most of your posts that go evergreen and keep pulling in new readers over time will be long posts.

The short post is may be just past the minimum of 300 words. It covers a narrower topic. It can be more personal, fun, or frivolous. One way to find topics for such a post is to look at other blogs in your niche. Write down five topics you have seen other blogs cover lightly or briefly. For each topic, think of a way that you could do that topic differently. Or perhaps you may think of away to do a slightly different topic in a similar way.

Once you have a list of five or more topics, pick the one that you feel like writing right now, today. Start a new text in your writing software and start writing. If you need to, before you begin the writing process, make a short list of the topics you will cover, or important points you will make. This may give you the idea to turn your topic into a list post.

The long post is where you will have evergreen posts on your blog. Unlike Twitter, where a tweet will vanish from sight within minutes, your long posts may be drawing new readers in for years. The long post can cover a topic more broadly than a short post can, but it still needs to be narrowed down. You cannot write about life, the universe and everything in one blog post. Not without making it so long that its gravity will create a black hole.

A long post may be far past the 300 to 500 words you will find a short post. However, when you start getting up towards 1000 words, slow down. If a post is too long, most readers will not finish it. Is there a way you can get to the point of this post more quickly? Perhaps a bulleted list would you help organize your post if you tend to ramble like I do.

This post is a short post, and it is coming to an end. I hope it will help you compose the two kinds of blog posts that your blog will need period

Happy blogging,

Nissa Annakindt

This blog post was dictated using the dictation feature that came with my (older) Mac.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want tips to improve an author blog? Join my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

What’s Your Blogging Brand?

What is a blogging brand? I picture it like this: first, you hot up the branding irons. Then, you roust the cowboys from the bunkhouse and set them to rounding up the bloggers. When the bloggers are all lassoed and hog-tied, you apply the red-hot branding irons to bare blogger butts.

OK, it’s not like that exactly. Think of your blogging brand is what you deliver to your readers— whether that is humor, political rants, encouragement, cute cat pictures. Your blog niche relates to your brand. If you decide that your blog niche is hard-hitting political commentary and you post nothing but pictures of your cute kitten (or puppy, snake or murder hornets,) you are not putting out a political commentary brand, but you are delivering cute pet pictures (unless your pets are murder hornets.)

Your blog’s readers come to you because they can read things they are interested in on your blog. If you had an angry-atheist blog that mocked non-atheists, and you switch over to a devout Catholic conversion-story blog, you will probably lose all the old blog’s readers and find new readers. Probably MORE and nicer new readers if you mocked on the old blog and don’t do that now. 

Most blogging advice I have read says to focus on one topic for blogging success, but that leaves me torn. I am too much of a Renaissance woman to confine myself to one topic. And though I have other blogs (for low-carb/keto living, for Esperanto, and for other odd languages) I find it hard to keep up with lots of blogs and so no longer start new blogs anytime I become interested in something.

So on this blog you will find blogging-improvement posts, writing/authorship posts, posts about Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder,) poetry-related posts, and faith-based posts including ones on the Lutheran rosary (I am an ex-Lutheran who prayed the rosary in my Lutheran days, and only dared to tell one other Lutheran. Who said, ‘Me, too.’)

Back to YOU and your blog. Whether your blogging brand includes one major topic or many, it’s good to have an image that relates to your blog plastered all over it. For author bloggers, I’m afraid it will have to be your author photo. Sadly, I have always been so ashamed of my body that I hated having pictures taken. So there are few old photos for me to choose from. And I can’t get new pictures taken— since my health problems last February I make Ruth Bader Ginsberg look young and sexy. I’m thinking of commissioning a manga-style ‘cartoon’ portrait of me with variations so I can be different races (like Klingon and elven) and different ages and stuff. 

Some people who would rather be anonymous use logos to help establish their blogging brand. Hey, it works for corporations! For example, a corporate wage slave who writes things that don’t share the corporate brand, or perhaps doesn’t ‘believe all women’ or support same-sex marriage, may need to blog anonymously to keep the day job. 

Also, some people, like Gundi Gabrielle, use a color to establish brand. For her, it is a vivid pink. (Ugh!) I’m thinking of using a blue in the teal/cyan/turquoise family as part of my brand.

Well, I’ve rambled on a bit about blogging brands. This was intended to be a 350-word quick post and I’m nearing 600 words. So it’s time for me to stop now, and let you-all say what you think or know about blogging brands in a comment.

Thanks for reading so far,

Nissa Annakindt

 

My new FB group about author-blogs needs more victims (members.) Join at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

Christian Author Blogs: Papa Don’t Preach

Author blogging is a major step forward for a lot of authors (and aspiring authors.) And Christian authors are authors too, and may experience discrimination in the mainstream writing world where publishers want strong LGBT characters even in YA children’s books, but would turn up his nose at a writer who put in an Evangelical or Catholic character without saying what ‘haters’ they are. (‘Haters’ — the new hate-epithet to use against people you hate and are bigoted against.)

Christian fiction is accused of being “preachy’ even by people who have never once read even page 1 in a Christian book. And, yes, some Christian fiction is. Check out Salem Kirban’s novel and-or sermon 666, which as a novel is a great sermon on the Rapture doctrine. Evangelical fiction has ‘preachy’ roots because some Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches used to teach that when you get saved you give up ‘worldly’ novels the same way you give up alcohol, movies and owning a pack of playing cards.  (Most of these groups are far less strict now— women can even wear makeup!)

But ‘preachiness’ is less tolerated in fiction, even by the most devout Christians. And so your blog shouldn’t be too preachy, either. You can mention faith-related issues, but if you are putting up sermons or devotionals, you may find that many of your book readers and fans don’t really want you playing pastor for them.

It’s understandable. I’m a Catholic convert but in my obsessive reading life I will gladly read books by Evangelicals and LDS/Mormons and Eastern Orthodox Christians and Mennonites— so long as they can tell good stories. But I don’t want to get into denominational debates with these people and have them preach at me. If I want preaching I’ll go to the church of my own choice. If I want a devotional I will buy a devotional book, usually a Catholic one. 

Now, of course if you are a full-time pastor of whatever church, perhaps someone with years of seminary training, perhaps someone who does his daily Bible reading in Hebrew and Greek, then your preaching will be worth blogging, but perhaps not on your author blog. You might have a pastor-blog and a Christian author blog to keep the one topic from overwhelming the other. But if you are far too busy to maintain two blogs, a preachy author blog may be right for you, especially if you write fiction with a lot of faith content. 

If you are NOT a pastor, you might want the faith content on your blog to be less overwhelming. Just because someone read your Amish romance or Bible-based fantasy doesn’t mean they welcome your views on whether Cain or Judas went to hell or whether God doesn’t listen to the prayers of Jewish people or the One Right Way to have morning devotions. 

This doesn’t mean denying your faith. It means being more subtle. If you can. With my Asperger Syndrome subtle may not be my thing. Which is why I’m writing about Christian author blogging instead of something not explicitly Christian. Perhaps something that would promote my blogging book. (See blog sidebar or books page.)

Of course not only is each Christian author blogger going to have a unique style, people from different church backgrounds will have different traits in their author blogs. Not just Catholic author blogs being different from Protestant/Evangelical ones, but Southern Baptist author bloggers may be a bit different from Freewill Baptist author bloggers. But preachiness, unless you are a gifted preacher, may not be your best blogging style.

Bloggy greetings from

Nissa Annakindt & her cats

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You will notice this post introduces a new topic with a new graphic. Graphic self-inflicted, made on Canva. I’ve decided to write some things specifically for Christian author-bloggers, not because I’m not keen on Jewish persons or Buddhists who author-blog, but because I personally am Christian & know lots of Christian authors & author-bloggers so I have perspective on it. 

New author-blogger FB group! Members wanted!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

IWSG: An Aspie Writer’s Take on Social Distancing

Since I have Asperger Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder,) I have been doing social distancing all my life. I just didn’t know that was what it was called. I just thought of it as being lonely and not having friends and going days and weeks without meaningful social interactions.

This is a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

While other people are getting frantic when they have to stay home because of that certain virus, my life is mostly situation normal. I haven’t had a job for years and get along on SSI disability (NOT fun,) I live in a rural area and don’t waste my small amount of money by hanging about in barrooms, and after a lifetime of having social interactions with mean and hostile people, I tend not to even try to socially interact any more.

In fact, the main change in my life is in the direction of MORE social interaction. My friends, with a very few exceptions, are not real-world friends but online friends. And my social media accounts are livelier than normal with many people staying home and sharing memes and rumors about the virus all day.

Being socially isolated can help you concentrate on doing your writing work— if you actually do your writing instead of letting your social media become a time sink. I have recently completed a short non-fiction ebook. Unlike my usual open-ended projects that get bogged down and fail, I planned this project to be a small, time limited one. I gave myself 12 writing days to produce a work that would be 12000 to 24000 words long, which I have read is a good length for a non-fiction ebook.

In reality it took me 17 days, the book turned out to be on the long side of the projected length (which is good), and I had to do 3 more days to transform my Scrivener text into something Kindle Create could work with and to design a cover on Canva.

And now the hard part comes. I don’t really know how to do the social interaction part of doing a book launch, and with my SSI income I can’t hire services to promote my book for me. I don’t know how well the book will do.

But I have already started my next two writing projects. One is another non-fiction, this time about a low-carbohydrate/ketogenic way of eating. The other is science fiction, about a starship which is somewhat lost and encounters a planet where the population is keen on dealing in stolen starship parts. I am not sure, right now, if it’s better to try to work on both at once or to do them one at a time to keep focus. What will happen? Well, you can come back to this blog to find out.

Lenten and Insecure-Writer Greetings,

From Nissa Annakindt & her cats and other critters.

A Click-To-Tweet Experiment

This one’s about my new book, ‘Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life. Click on the blue bird to tweet about it. (If you want to participate in this experiment.)

Tweet: Learn simple and free secrets to get more traffic to your blog https://ctt.ac/O71HU+ #blogging

 

My Life as a Newsletter Caterpillar

When it comes to newsletters, I’m not a ninja. Even though I’ve read Tammi Labrecque’s Newsletter Ninja a few times, most recently yesterday.

My newsletter for this blog is a monthly event. Which I have not done since last June. I feel bad about that, but then the main rule I remember about newsletters is that you are supposed to give your newsletter subscribers something of value in each newsletter. No, not necessarily free books, though when my new blogging book, ‘Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life’ goes temporary-free at some point, I plan to mention that in a future newsletter.

I’m more of a newsletter caterpillar than a newsletter ninja, but Tammi Labrecque’s book has taught me a few things that bring me steps closer to ninjahood. For example, the reason why your newsletter subscribers are so darn special is that they are people who have GIVEN YOU THEIR PERMISSION to be emailed. That’s a great gift, really. We need to cherish it and use it well.

Another thing Tammi’s taught me is the value of emojis in your newsletter’s subject line. It makes people more likely to open the newsletter rather than ignore it. Tammi says the ‘poop’ emoji outperforms all others. I kind of didn’t want to ‘poop’ on all my newsletter subscribers. And I couldn’t find the ‘poop’ emoji anyway. So I picked out a different emoji for my subject line.

One thing I learned all on my own is that using a service really helps so no one will mistake your newsletter for an ordinary e-mail. I use the free version of MailChimp which allows me to have up to 2000 subscribers and to mail out to them more than I am likely to ever do. It’s kind of a learning curve to put together a newsletter on MailChimp— every image I want to share is either too large or too small to suit them.  But I’ve come out with newsletters a few times now, and I’m getting better at it. I think.

Do you have a newsletter? Do you use MailChimp or another service? How well has your newsletter worked for you? What kind of things do you include in your newsletter?

Springtime & Lenten greetings to you all

and may God bless you,

Nissa and her cats & critters


My new book is available for pre-order. If you’d like to take a look at it on Amazon, the link is: https://amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M 

I’d really be grateful if a few people would take a moment to share my book’s link on their social media. I’ve never done a proper book launch before and am quite sure I am not doing it right. 😉