Sunday, October 21, 2012

Show Me the Blog 3.0

Show Me the Blog
For the third straight year Danyelle Little aka The Cubicle Chick put together a fantastic two day social media and blogging conference in St. Louis. This year's event was held October 19th and 20th at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC) on Delmar in the Loop. It was an interesting venue, and one that I had not been to before. On Thursday night, the folks from Time to Play hosted a social event at the RAC for us to get to know each other as well as their company. I had some fun with the Fibber game before Kitty of and I got our butts kicked by Kristi of and Rai of while playing Scrabble Catch Phrase.
This is what happens when you are a Fibber!
Time to Play

So I took myself over to learn some anger management skills. And then I had a piece of cake :)

Friday was all about social media. My big takeaways from the day were as follows:
- I need to be making Youtube videos!
- bloggers need to see themselves as media companies
- there are tools withing Google+ that I have not been taking advantage of
- I need to research how my blogs appear on mobile devices
- photographs add to your blog both from a visual and a searchable perspective
- guest blogging can add to your credibility and your following

Saturday was chock full of blogging topics. Since I forgot my iPad and my phone, I was tweetless in St. Louis for part of the day until Danyelle generously lent me her Macbook. I also had to take notes with a pen and paper. Can you imagine? Ha. Here is a summary of what I learned on Saturday:
- follow up on any queries you have sent out as story ideas
- engage with brands through social media and stay on top of what they are doing
- affiliate marketing can be a good way to supplement your income
- learn to create compelling headlines for your blog posts
- make use of group Pinterest boards and webmaster tools
- become collaborators with similar bloggers, not competitors

Kim Wolterman
Also on Saturday I presented Beyond the Blog: Tips for Turning Your Blog into a Book. I was a little nervous that no one would attend my breakout session as powerhouse Nick Gilham was talking about Personal Branding in the main conference room. But I had 16 attendees, which was great as people could then interact. I had a lot of fun coming up with the slides for the presentation, and I think it went well.

The day wrapped up with Stef Pollack, a smart choice of speaker for the end of a long, two day conference. Stef is an effective and entertaining presenter with a lot of helpful information to share. Danyelle once again outdid herself with Show Me the Blog 2012. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for next year!

Cupcake Project

Stef Pollack

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pinterest for Authors

Pinterest page of Kim Wolterman
Recent statistics show that Pinterest is the third-largest social media site, with 104 million visits per month. Facebook clearly leads the way with 7 billion monthly visits, while Twitter comes in second with 182 million visits. Pinterest visitors stay on the site longer than any other social media sites, and users are predominantly females between the ages of 25-44. It is easy to open a Pinterest account, and then you can begin creating your boards and start pinning.

One of the biggest benefits of Pinterest for users is that the system automatically links back to the source of the pinned photo or article. So if you have a board of photos from your blog, for example, when someone clicks on the photo they will be taken to your blog. And if they pin the photo to their Pinterest board, then all of their followers are now potentially exposed to your blog. There are some copyright issues floating around right now, so I mostly pin my own photos or those where I feel proper credit has been attributed to the photos.

Here are some examples of how authors can use Pinterest boards to either assist in the writing process or promote (subtly) their books:

- Show some visual elements from your books, either actual photos from the books or images that inspired you when writing them. For example, since I write about house research, I might want to create a board of photos of historic homes. If you write historical fiction you might have boards of photos from the time period in which you are setting your book.

- Pin the covers of books in your same genre, including your own.

- Pin photos from your book signings or speaking engagements, as well as those you have attended from other authors.

- Get creative. Where do you want to travel? In what location would you rather be writing? How about one for cool libraries?

Pinterest is one more bullet in the social media arsenal for authors. As with other forms of social media, the emphasis should be on "social". Interact with your followers, and find others to follow as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Life in Parts Book Launch

Publisher Nancy Baumann
Last night my husband and I attended the book launch of A Life in Parts at the Hyatt in downtown St. Louis. You know you are having a successful launch when it is so big that it needs to be held in a hotel ballroom! Over 400 people pre-registered for the event and judging by the books on the table when we arrived, many took advantage of the opportunity to purchase the book ahead of time and pick it up at the event. I wanted to attend the launch to show support of fellow St. Louis Publishers Association member Nancy Baumann, owner of Stonebrook Publishing and publisher of this book. But I was also eager to hear the story behind how this book came into fruition. With a Foreword by Heather Mills and back cover endorsements from Cindy Crawford and Sir Paul McCartney, I was very intrigued.

A Life in Parts details the actual life events of Loretta Goebel - an ordinary day when a chance blow to her hand ended up costing her both legs, one hand and most of the fingers of the other hand, and very nearly her life. Given only a 10% chance of survival, Loretta fought back and now shares her extraordinary story of faith, hope and encouragement to others. Her grace and poise along with her exceptional sense of humor make her a wonderful speaker.

I began to read the book last night, and while I am not too far into it yet I can see that it is a well-written and compelling story. I think that everyone who reads it will certainly come to better appreciate their own lives and hopefully learn to embrace each day and take nothing for granted.

Loretta Goebel

Loretta Goebel removes her arm

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Authors Should be on Pinterest

While at a blogging conference a year ago one of the attendees introduced me to Pinterest and sent me an invitation to join. I signed up without really understanding what the site was all about because this blogger told me how much fun she was having with it. While I have created numerous boards and enjoy looking at the pins of others, I have not focused on using Pinterest to make me more successful as an author. The October issue of the Independent, a monthly publication of the Independent Book Publishers Association, arrived in the mail today. An article entitled "Promoting with Pinterest How to Get the Most from This Hot Social Media Network" caught my eye, stating that Pinterest is now the third-largest social media site behind Facebook and Twitter.

I decided to look into the statistics a little bit and found an article about Ben Silbermann, one of the co-founders of Pinterest. The article stated that Pinterest grew from 5,000 users in August 2010 to 17 million in April of this year. That's a lot of eyeballs! I will be researching how authors can use Pinterest to connect with their readers, and will follow-up with some tips in an upcoming post.