Thursday, February 27, 2014

Would you write here or there, on a train or in a house as a writer in residence?

This is something I have aspired to do for a very long time. I have even filled out a few applications to be a
Would you take a train trip just to write on your novel? 
writer in residence. A writer in residence is exactly what the name describes.

A writer who resides temporarily often times for no or little cost in a place to work on their own project as well as share their knowledge insights. There are hundreds of these opportunities for writers that offer inspiring places to do nothing but hone their craft and possibly help inspire or teach others.

A writer can apply for these opportunities in places around the world. Recently Amtrak Railroad announced that they are going to start a writer in residence program giving writers free or low cost train trips to write on their books. How exciting is that?

I would love to have that opportunity to take a trip some place on a train across the country and write the whole time.

Here are a few of the places on my writers in residence wish list.

They provide writers and artists with a single room with a view of the sea or gardens, breakfast and lunch in the Chateau. They also provide a private studio for the author or artist to work. These residencies last from five weeks up to one year depending on which of the programs applied for.

Kerouac House, Orlando, Florida 
A three month residency in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote Dharma Bums. The project pays the resident’s utilities and $800 in a monthly food stipend. The writer in residence works on their project and gives a reading of it at the end of their stay. Also during the residency they may be required to participate in community events, readings, workshops and the like.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts offers residencies of two weeks to two months to poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and other artists on a 450-acre estate at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They host up to 25 residents at a time providing private rooms, work areas and meals.

And of course the list wouldn’t be complete without….

The program is not yet open for applications but will be very soon, according to several statements made. Writers will be given a free or low cost train trip to write to their hearts content.

How about you? Is there some place you would love to live and write, maybe even get paid to or do so for free?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing Great Content

Writing Great Content (via
Writing great content is no a marketing trick. Writing great content can only be achieved if you are willing to improve your skills as a writer.  So many podcast, blogs and so called experts will tell you all the benefits of a content marketing strategy…

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting visible for authors and their books

The hardest part of being an author isn’t writing the novel or even publishing. The hardest part is getting visible. In the not really so distant past authors had to depend on road trips to different bookstores and venues to grab attention. If they were really lucky, someone would land a TV or radio spot. Possibly get reviews from newspapers and magazines.

Those venues are still there and can be successful in reaching readers, but they can also be expensive and possibly limited to local areas. In today’s digital age authors can reach not just one city but the entire globe. All from their computer and often in their pajamas.

Why yes, I am wearing my comfiest jams right now, complete with fuzzy slippers. So don’t judge. ;o) Now let’s get back on topic…

The problem with this global reach is… well, it’s global, global is huge. The ways to reach out and grab your audience in that vast sea of readers is huge too. So how does one author and their books become visible? Create your internet platform with two kinds of sites. Listings/Profiles and Social Media.

We all know about social media like G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.… Those sites take constant checking and maintaining in order for them to work properly for the author. All that checking, posting and commenting can take a lot of time.

That’s where listing sites come in. There are many sites out there that allow you to sign in and list your profile and books then leave. You just have to come back every so often to make sure your page is updated and working properly.  Just dropping off a profile doesn’t sound very effective, but there are more of these sites than there are social media.

There are sites for every kind of genre, niche or just general book and author listings. People browse these
sites to find something new or interesting that goes with their interests, making it very easy to stumble upon your author page. Giving you the chance to snare a new reader, they may even share your page on their social sites brining more possible readers.

I know, I know your social media takes up so much time, how can you add one more place? The most time you’ll spend on a listing pages is the first time you sign up and create your profile. After that five minutes max now and then to update your page is worth the possibility of hooking five maybe ten more readers isn’t it?

Almost every niche you can think of has at least one listing site where you can put up a profile and gain more exposure. There’s another benefit to an author spreading themselves around the web, it adds more chances of the author’s name or book title being picked up by search engines. We all know that’s a plus.

Here are a few good listing sites to get started.

And many more, so go find your niche and get visible.

Do you use any other listing sites you would like to share?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

ROWing along the writing rapids ROW80 Update

Some weeks are smooth sailing everything on the checklist gets done and goals are completed. . Other weeks… Well, those crazy weeks are like trying to navigate rough rapids against the current, with a broken paddle.

During those weeks of rough waters everything is out of balance and goals can seem to be unachievable. Fighting against the current can be exhausting to both body and soul. Instead of paddling like a madman to get three inches upstream, turn that raft and head for shore.

Take a deep breath and let everything go for a time. It can be a few hours, even an entire day, just take some time away from it all. Trust me, when you’re doing the rapids upstream and your paddle breaks… one day really isn’t going to hurt. No more than one though.

Taking that day will actually make all the difference in the world. When you wake up the next morning you can get a new perspective on the cause or causes of the week’s struggles. (Sometimes the lil bastards are like dominos, one after another oi ) Now you can look at your goals and other things you want to achieve that week and reevaluate.

Is it just one of those weeks where you have to say, it’s just insane, next week we can get back on track. Or is there something you can tweak and adjust to put this week back in balance so you can navigate even the roughest of the rapids to make the goals and cross things off that to do list.

I’m in that adjusting phase for this week. The last couple of weeks have been seriously rough waters. I’m
hoping this week will be calmer and hopefully these manageable goals will mesh better with the craziness going on in life right now.

Goals for this week:
Create a schedule to help keep things balanced 

Write at least 500 words a day on manuscript
Write one article this week
Write at least one blog this week
Get some art done

Have your goals shaped up this quarter or shipped out? Do you have a new goal this week? 

What is ROW80? A Round of Words in 80 days, a writing challenge that understands you've got a life. For more info go here