Skip to content

Blogging for Writers: 5 (Sneaky) Places to Get Traffic for Your Blog

Blogging for Writers: 5 (Sneaky) Places to Get Traffic for Your Blog published on 6 Comments on Blogging for Writers: 5 (Sneaky) Places to Get Traffic for Your Blog

Blog! OMG!You’ve got a problem. Oh, you’ve ignored the problem. You tried to tell yourself the problem isn’t such a big deal. You’ve buried yourself in your Facebook page because at least you have friends there.But the problem remains. You have little traffic on your writer’s blog.

Welcome to the internet my friend. You’ve found out the hard way that just having a web page doesn’t lead the reader to drink from the font of your wordsmithery awesomeness. And it hurts even if you don’t admit it. People aren’t reading your posts? Cry you a river. Now do something about it.

What should you do?Continue reading Blogging for Writers: 5 (Sneaky) Places to Get Traffic for Your Blog

Flash Story Challenge: Tripping the Black

Flash Story Challenge: Tripping the Black published on No Comments on Flash Story Challenge: Tripping the Black

Tripping the blackChuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge is to incorporate a color into the title of the story. Word count limit, one thousand words. Mine came in at nine hundred eighty-six words.

Tripping the Black

Ariel took the passenger’s small carry on and stowed it in the overhead compartment. She had to stand on tiptoe to do it, but made it.

“Thank you, miss,” said the older gentleman.

“No problem, sir. That’s my job. Now please strap in. We’ll be taking off shortly.”

“I’ve heard take-off is…rough,” he said, his brow furrowed. “If it wasn’t for my grandson’s birthday, I wouldn’t go at all.”Continue reading Flash Story Challenge: Tripping the Black

The Writer’s Life: Depression and Creative People

The Writer’s Life: Depression and Creative People published on No Comments on The Writer’s Life: Depression and Creative People

Depression & Creative People It’s scary isn’t it? A famous creative person faces that dark part of him or her self and loses the battle. And the media in its collective hive mind wisdom trots out this line: Celebrity Loses Battle With Depression. It’s such a common media trope it’s just expected we’ll see it. Ugh.

There could be lots of swearing on my part here, but this is supposed to be a g-rated blog. It just makes me angry to see such a glib answer spread across electronic and print news.

Still the question begs to be answered. Are creative people more likely to be depressed than other people?

One Swedish study involving one million people found that as a group, those in the creative professions were no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than other people. But there is a big “however” here. Writers, it seems, are at a higher risk of mood disorders, schizophrenia and other forms of psychiatric illness. And this may be due to how creative people process information.Continue reading The Writer’s Life: Depression and Creative People

The Writer’s Craft: Do You Need A Blog?

The Writer’s Craft: Do You Need A Blog? published on 2 Comments on The Writer’s Craft: Do You Need A Blog?

To blog or not to blog I recently read a blog post by an editor and writer who said that writers don’t need a blog. She advised that the time spent on blogging could be best spent writing. Yes, I said that correctly. I read this on her blog.

Her previous entry was about building an online presence.

Okay, who’s zooming who?

Do you absolutely need a blog?

No.

If you are a fantastic undiscovered literary genius who is only waiting on the publishing world to wake up to your fabulousness, much like J.K. Rowling with her twenty-one rejections of the first Harry Potter book, you don’t need a blog. Are you that writer? Good. You probably should have a blog to share your genius, but you don’t need one.

Should you have a blog?Continue reading The Writer’s Craft: Do You Need A Blog?

Flash Fiction Challenge: A Creepy Picture

Flash Fiction Challenge: A Creepy Picture published on No Comments on Flash Fiction Challenge: A Creepy Picture
Creepy picture for Wendig's lastest challenge
Creepy picture for Wendig’s lastest challenge

The diabolical Chuck Wendig chose the picture for the newest cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the inspiration for his latest flash fiction challenge. Yes, I agree it is creepy, worthy of inspiration. The challenge: one thousand word based on the picture. I’m not quite the horror type, but I gave it a shot anyway.

The Good Girl

Eight-year old Merry knitted her little fingers together, her arms twisted to her back while she surveyed the scene. Her mother’s tea set sprawled over the length of the living room, some of the pieces inexorably shattered, lost beyond repair. Her upper teeth pushed into her pink bottom lip, the barest quivering of tears wetting her eyelashes. It was revenge, and she knew it.

“I didn’t do it, mommy,” she said. Her voice was plaintive, but she knew what was coming.

“You never do it,” said her mother with disapproval. “Just like the Christmas ornaments you smashed. Go to your room, and stay there.”

She went to her room, but only for a little while. Merry was told enough times by both parents that she was a bad girl. She was supposed to be perfect. At times she was. Merry never fussed while mother made up her hair just so before she went to school, and she took care to keep her clothes clean when she was out in public. Even her teachers told her parents how good she was at school.

But when she was at home, things took a different turn. And it wasn’t her fault.Continue reading Flash Fiction Challenge: A Creepy Picture

The Comeback of Serial Fiction

The Comeback of Serial Fiction published on No Comments on The Comeback of Serial Fiction

Buck Rogers Serial Poster The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Do you remember Buck Rogers? Not the campy television show, but the shorts that used to come on in the movies before the main show? Okay, I’m dating myself here, even thought by the time I got to see them they were filling a hole in the Saturday morning cartoon slots.

During the first part of the twentieth century serialization of stories was the norm. Pulp SF magazines serialized novels, radio shows serialized all sorts of stories (Who knows? The Shadow knows. Mmmaawwhha.) Eventually television came along, and television series arose, building on the dying bones of the radio series.

But somewhere between the late twentieth century the culture changed. It was a slow implosion that shifted readership of many different forms of print. The people who best documented this was the newspaper industry. Up to the 1990’s daily circulation rose and then held firm at a little over 60,000,000 households. Then, despite the growing population, circulation numbers started to fall, like a rock. And curiously, though, during the years of 70’s all to the current year the number of households grew. And another trend emerged. During the 1970’s nearly every household in the United States took at least the daily newspaper. By the nineties this was no longer true. Despite a rapidly growing population, people read the paper less.Continue reading The Comeback of Serial Fiction

5 Things to Do To Improve Your SEO and Site Traffic

5 Things to Do To Improve Your SEO and Site Traffic published on No Comments on 5 Things to Do To Improve Your SEO and Site Traffic

SEO

 

Recently, at their request, I analyzed the SEO of a non-profit’s website. Looking at what people did wrong reminded me of the things we need to do right to promote our blogs.

I considered writing “Ten Things to Do to Improve Your Blog Traffic,” but I’ve noticed some writers are just plain whiny about SEO. It’s time consuming. No one reads my blog anyway. Who cares? Much of this just comes down to not knowing what to do. Let me streamline the process by providing a few suggestions. Do these things and you should see a rise in your traffic.Continue reading 5 Things to Do To Improve Your SEO and Site Traffic

Chuck Wendig’s Latest Flash Fiction Challenge

Chuck Wendig’s Latest Flash Fiction Challenge published on No Comments on Chuck Wendig’s Latest Flash Fiction Challenge

Alice in Wonderland CupcakesWhen Chuck Wendig put up his latest flash fiction challenge I couldn’t resist. But, here, I’ll let me explain it in his own words:

This week, a bit of a quirky one.
You ever play those old-school Infocomm text adventures?

(Zork: “You are eaten by a grue.”)

I was a huge fan.

Now, there’s a Twitter account / bot that, if you tweet the word “inventory” to this particular Twitter bot — @YouAreCarrying — it will tweet back at you a randomized list of inventory items, taken, I believe, from old Infocomm games.
Take all the items listed in the response tweet (your “inventory”) and use them all — in some way, oblique, abstract or overt — in a flash fiction. We’ll up the word count to 2000 words for this one. Due by next Friday (7/18), noon EST. Post at your online space; drop a link below so folks can follow it back. And that’s it. Go forth. Get your inventory. Write a story.

And the bot came back with this for me:

‪@starrynightastr a two liter bottle of Classic Coke, a trash basket, a cake, a glass analysis, a pound note, a leaflet, a granola cluster.

I’m not going to sit there groaning about the twisted angst it took for me to come up with a story, because when I read these things there was only one place I could take them. To Alice, my Out of Wonderland character from my previous story “The White Rabbit.”

And here’s the story:

Cake: The Continuing Adventures of Alice Out of Wonderland

“We shouldn’t be meeting like this, Alice,” said the white rabbit sitting at the bar. I slid onto the stool next to him. “The Queen will have my job.”Continue reading Chuck Wendig’s Latest Flash Fiction Challenge

Writing: #Whatyoucan’tdo

Writing: #Whatyoucan’tdo published on No Comments on Writing: #Whatyoucan’tdo

Freelancer Process Being raised a #goodcatholicgirl I got a big dose of “#whatyoucan’tdo”. I even had an older male relative tell me when I eight years old, that girls didn’t become doctors. Geez. It was an overdose, really, enough so I immediately threw out all the rules as soon as I left home for good.

During my life breaking or bending the rules became a personal theme for me. Oh, not in and out-n-out rebel- without-a-clue way. And no, you don’t get details. But in dealing with my corporate career I broke more than a few, to the chagrin of my employers. They punished me with successive promotions. So when I hear “you can’t do that,” my response is “watch me.”

So when my college age daughter told me that her college writing professor told her that “you can’t make a living freelancing,” that raised a few hackles on the back of my neck.

Sure, no one said it would be easy. And it requires a different skill set than getting up in the morning, buying your latte and sitting you butt in your cubicle each day.

There’s marketing yourself for one thing. Calling up or emailing people saying, “do you want an article on” sort of thing. Making connections. Getting people to know who you are. Using social media, correctly, as in “not spamming, just hamming”, way.

Then there is time management. The temptation to play Zimbio games must be ignored in favor of making some queries to find work. Then, once securing such work, doing it and sending it in.

And employing the ability to wait for payment, graciously. Yes, it is strange in this era of Paypal, to have to wait for payment, but I have a few clients like that. So sometimes I have to make a few other calls, as in to the electric company, to smooth over our latest “misunderstanding.”

Yes, diplomacy is part of the skill set. Especially in getting along with my boss. Working for myself isn’t the easiest thing. I’m a real bitch to work for.

But I have to do it. No other profession merges so well with my heavy television watching schedule.

“I make money, daughter.” I replied. “You can make money freelancing.”

She smiled. “But you have a niche. People know who you are.”

And right there is another clue about how to freelance successfully.

So don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. (Though, please be sensible and don’t do self-destructive things.) When someone tells you that you can’t make a living freelancing, tell them:

“Watch me.”

Photo published under a Creative Commons License issued by Flickr user JamesCarlson

Writing Evocative Book and Story Titles

Writing Evocative Book and Story Titles published on 2 Comments on Writing Evocative Book and Story Titles

How much thought do you give your titles? Do you wonder what makes a good title and one that’s so, so? Is there any way to know? Yes there is.

In my newspaper circulation days, we would regularly look at what headlines sold the most newspapers. I would even write reports about what kinds of headlines were more effective from a sales standpoint. Not so unusually the journalist editors would look at me with a jaundiced eye. They were there for reporting the news. Sales was not their responsibility. But they would complain if they thought that the newspaper wasn’t selling like it should. Somehow I was supposed to pull the magic selling fairy out of my nether regions and get those papers to fly off the shelves.

They were wrong. Headlines and titles have everything to do with whether or not people pick up that paper, read that story, or buy a book. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to reading material, that is exactly what we do.

So what do we do to make a title evocative?

According to Advanced Marketing Institute, we need to up the emotional content in it. They divide up emotional content into three categories, Intellectual, Empathic, Spiritual. No one category is better than the other, but one category fits better with the market you are trying to reach.

Additionally, you need to keep your titles short, under five words and the fewer the better.

Once I initially discovered the Title Analyzer I started looking at how I wrote blog titles. Now, writing blog titles is different from writing titles for books and stories because you have to write SEO words into the title to get search engines to recognize you. But anecdotally I can tell you that once I became aware of using emotive language in the titles, my readership went up on blog posts that used emotive language. Titles matter.

For example, one of my most successful evergreen posts on Astrology Explored is this one:

The Astrology of Relationships: Fated–The Yod in the Composite Chart

You can see the SEO. The title contains the keyword “astrology”, but except for two words, “relationship” and “fated” the rest would be gibberish to the average reader. I don’t expect the average reader to understand “yod” or “composite chart.” But people do understand fated relationships. And those two words made all the difference. That post stood number one as the most read until just recently.

Since we are all writers, we understand emotive language. So push for the most emotive, evocative language you can for your title.

But how do you know if your title works?

The Advanced Marketing Institute offers a Headline Analyzer which is effective. You enter a title and it tells you on a percentage rating how it does using evocative language. Unfortunately, the Advance Marketing Headline analyzer only works as a one shot deal. Once you enter a title and get a quick report, it doesn’t allow you to enter a rework work of the title. It didn’t used to be like that, but they changed it, so as it stands, their Headline Analyzer is useless to help you get the best title possible.

But I did find something that is almost as good. The Lulu Title Scorer will analyze your title and compare it to best-selling titles of the past to give you a projected percentage of how it stacks up. And you will be surprised at just how sensitive even minor changes can impact the marketability of your title.

For instance, the title of my first novel is Mindbender. For the longest time, I didn’t know whether to use the title as one word or two. Using the Lulu title analyzer I finally made my choice. Mind Bender has a 35.9% chance of being a best-selling title, while the single word Mindbender 63.7% chance.

Now, let’s check another title, this one a current New York Times best seller, Missing You. That title, according to Lulu has a 55.4% chance of being a best seller.

While titles aren’t everything, it doesn’t hurt to give your book or story the best chance possible of being read.

Primary Sidebar

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match