Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.

About writing, editing, publishing & getting it out there

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Avoiding Twitter chaos

lists-on-twitter-300x214It’s not hard to gain followers on Twitter or other social media platforms. If you’re active and keep having conversations with people, if you retweet or repost interesting items, if you make an effort to tweet or post every day or at least a few times a week (and not just promotional tweets), you will gain followers. A year or so back I started working on building my base on Twitter. I gained followers, and of course I liked having more followers … but then I had to figure out how to manage them. I can’t interact with 2,000 people, which my personal Twitter account has. My professional Twitter account (screenshot upper left) is still growing, but I figured there was no reason to skip this step and then waste time later figuring out who is who.

Lists keep Twitter manageable.

I use Twitter’s list system and organize as many people as I can into lists. My business account has 5 lists at the moment, which I may or may not expand as time goes by. Because I’m a writer and editor, I mainly focus on other writers and creative types. My current categories are Writers, Editors, Publishing, Social Media, and News+Politics. Since I use social media for business, I’m always reading up on the best ways to use it, which for me basically means finding a balance between efficiency and obnoxiousness, or between friendly and pushy. The beauty of lists is that you can make them private or public, and even the ones that are public are not going to bother anyone. If someone puts me on their list, I’ll only get a notice if my account is set up to get emails about that. Otherwise, I won’t know unless I look at. If you click the “me” menu on the top bar, then on the left side click on “lists,” you’ll see this: lists on twitter 2 You click on “Member of” and often you’ll see lists other people have added you to. For instance, on my personal Twitter account I was placed into a group called “Writer/Editor/Publisher” by someone I follow, which could be a useful group to subscribe to (subscribing to others’ groups is another way to keep up on what people who are into what you’re into are doing). The other groups, as you can see, are a bit more generic. lists on twitter 3

How do you use lists?

The way I usually use it is to respond to others’ tweets, or to retweet something relevant, in a timely manner. When I click on my “Editors” list, for example, and then click on “tweets” on the left (vs “list members” or “list subscribers”), you’ll see all the most recent tweets sent by list members, and exactly how long ago they were sent. lists on twitter 4Then I simply decide whether to respond to some of them. In some cases the tweet may be too old to respond to, but you might want to retweet it. Twitter can suck a lot of time away from your life if you are not careful. I try to limit the number of times I am tweeting each day and I pre-schedule tweets using HootSuite or TweetDeck. I love social media, I love being able to chat instantaneously with people. But I can’t do Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Tumbler and Pinterest and Instagram … at least not on a consistent basis. I think I actually have accounts to all of these, but I mainly focus on Twitter, Facebook and my blog, checking LinkedIn regularly for career-related information. .

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Badly edited books

I’ve joked about poorly edited books on Twitter, but in reality, I don’t think it’s a joke. It’s something that bothers me quite a bit.

I’m an editor, so I realize I’m biased, but I’m a reader first. I can grit my teeth and overlook one or two typos in a book, not one or two per page. It makes me very frustrated when I try to be supportive of indie authors, and I feel bad for the ones who know how important it is to clean up a book before setting it loose in the world. I don’t understand it. Not everyone is a great writer, but it you want to be recognized for your writing (and I assume a writer wants to be recognized for his writing if he’s published a book) you are shooting yourself in the foot if you produce something riddled with mistakes.

At least part of the reason I’m on GoodReads is to discover new books and writers. If someone sends me an invitation to an “event,” ie, the publication of his new book, I’ll look at it and consider it. If it’s free, I’ll download it only if there are no mistakes in the promotional copy. If it’s not free, I’ll check out the cover and title first, then the description, and then the reviews. If it seems like something I might like, I’ll buy it. I’m not saying I do this every time someone sends me such an invitation (I’d never be able to keep up) but I’ll do it often enough. It’s fairly random.

Recently, I was burned by a particularly bad indie science fiction book. I won’t go into the fact that the plot line, the dialogue and the characters all needed a lot of work, probably more than a basic copyedit could fix. What an editor would have caught was, among other things, a constant ping-ponging between tenses:. “He says,” in one paragraph, “She said,” in the next one. And that was just one of the more obvious errors. The image below is a screen shot from a completely random page; the first page I landed on happened to have this nugget:

snip of bad writing

I think this kind of carelessness makes a book unreadable. Sure, if you have a fantastic story and great characters, maybe you could get away with more mistakes, but then again, if you’ve got that great of a book, you owe it to yourself to ask a professional or a few highly skilled friends to read it and edit it.

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Quickie: Never too late to start writing

Janet Evanovich, from her Amazon author page

Janet Evanovich, from her Amazon author page

Found at The Princeton Patch

Janet Evanovich on getting published later in life.

“(Author Janet) Evanovich is in an inspiration for middle-aged people who still have dreams to fulfill. She didn’t publish her first book until she was 47 and her first Plum mystery came when she was over 50. She started writing when she was in her mid 30s and it took 10 years before she got published.

“I think the real advantage to it is I really was able to experience a lot of different things and now I’m a successful writer,” she says. “I haven’t got a good sense of age. … most of the people my age are retired and I’m just peaking … I still have a lot of stuff to do.”

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Talking me off the ledge of negativity*

By slava (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/slava/496607907/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By slava (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/slava/496607907/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We were discussing the nature of creativity, and the persistence of negativity, and the ridiculousness of feeling like a fraud in the face of evidence to the contrary.

What is going on? Why does a person with a history as a writer declare, “I cannot write!” to a hopefully non-judgmental outside party? Read More

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Blogging challenge–from A to Z

APRIL-2013-CALENDAR-001I’ve come across a blogging challenge that piqued my interest (thanks to Damyanti of Daily (w)rite, who led me to this). If you click on “Other blogs to visit” above, you’ll find a list of other writers participating in this challenge.

It’s called “Blogging from A to Z” and it’s a challenge, which starts on April 1, to blog on a topic starting with the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

From the blogger who started this, Arlee Bird of “Tossing it Out“: Read More

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Whatcha reading today?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, regular challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or to share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

This week I’m finishing up The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, finally. And I’m a good chunk of the way into The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan, a terrific story about some of the dancers who were painted by Degas. I wrote on GoodReads earlier this week about how I was suckered into a free book “event” and was horrified by the many, many typos, not to mention a bad plot. Painted girls cover

I’ll give the author a break and not mention his name here, but you can see it on my GoodReads page if you follow me. Please, please, please, if you want to be a writer and you are going to put your book out there, have someone who’s qualified read it. Of course I would like people to use me as an editor; that’s what I do for a living. But if you’re broke, I understand–just get some intelligent friends to help. It’s embarrassing.

Call to action: Post a link, a one- or two-line description of what you’re reading (book or blog) and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: Who was your favorite childhood author (and why)?

Please share!

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Whatcha reading today?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, regular challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or to share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

This week I’m reading The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright, Private Berlin by James Patterson, and Victory Garden by Meredith Allard. Also still reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. I also just finished The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Smashwords founder Mark Coker, which I highly recommend to authors. (I’m not counting it as one of my 100 books because it has fewer than 100 pages). Forgotten Waltz

Post a link, a one- or two-line description of what you’re reading (book or blog) and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: If you read both print and ebooks, which do you prefer and why? 

Please share!

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Message vs. reality

Have A Nice Day Comments For Friendster, Myspace, And Hi5

On Tuesday morning, I was sitting having a cup of coffee in (ubiquitous fast food restaurant), where a TV up on the wall was blasting snippets of talk shows, videos and promos for the restaurant I was in.

A female employee was nearby, cleaning up the place. A male customer came out of the restroom to find that the coffee he’d left on his table was gone. Now, personally, I would have taken my coffee into the restroom with me if I didn’t want to lose it, but I’ll leave victim-blaming aside for a minute.

He asked the employee, “Did you move my coffee?”

She nodded yes and gestured toward the trash bin.

He said, “But it was a full cup!”

She didn’t seem concerned and kept sweeping. It was garbage to her. She’d seen an abandoned table and had discarded the leftovers. Plenty of slobs at that place, I’m sure, don’t bother to dump their trash.

He headed toward the steps going down to the first floor, presumably to get another coffee. Then he paused. “Could you at least verify that’s what happened to my coffee?” he asked her.

She shrugged and kept sweeping. Her unspoken reply: Are you kidding me? That would involve walking downstairs. He sighed and headed downstairs.

He was barely out of sight when the TV over my head started running a new segment: an interview with a new employee of (ubiquitous fast food restaurant). In a bright, cheery voice, she says:

“I really like that they push for the happiness of the customer.”

 

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Whatcha reading? Should we check it out?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, periodic challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

Post a link, a one- or two-line description of the piece and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: Do you start a new book if you’re already reading one? (If yes, how many books are you in the midst of now? For me it’s four, although I’m actively flipping between two at the moment, one on my Android Kindle and one on my Nook).

Please share! I hope to build some momentum on this.

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No better time to be original

In Seth Godin‘s new book, The Icarus Deception, he writes that with the old way of doing things, most musicians (you can substitute writers or whatever type of art you do) did not have a chance of being heard. Most are not signed by a label. Of those lucky enough to be, 98% fail in the marketplace. Only 1/2% of the remaining 2% ever see a royalty check, Seth writes. (I don’t have a source for these figures, but it does seem in line with what I’ve heard about the record industry.)

He goes on: “A musician who sells two (two!) copies of a song on iTunes makes more money than she would have earned from a record label for selling an entire CD for seventeen dollars.

“There are more musicians making more money being heard by more people and earning more money than ever before.

“Now, multiply what happened to music by a million. Multiply it by consulting, coaching, and design. Multiply it by manufacturing, speaking, and non-profits. Multiply it by whatever it is you care enough to do.”

Again, since I focus on books, I’m substituting “writer” for “musician.” You may make money through a traditional publisher and some of them treat authors very well. But the world of self-publishing is yours (mine) waiting for you (me) to share your/my/our words.