Twitter Attracting Readers

19502618_sTwo years ago when the opportunity to launch a website, and get my name out there as a writer presented itself, I thought half the battle had been won.  For someone aspiring like myself, yes, it is definitely beneficial to have an on-line presence.  Now understand, I will only speak of writers here, although I’m certain others may put together what I mean, and find it useful.  First, let me say, the more I look at the concept of Twitter, and writing, the more I’m left scratching my head.  What do I mean?  Think about this.  I want to draw your attention to your followers.  Of course, as writers, we follow other writers.  But, have you stopped to ask yourself why?  If you’re tweeting about your most recent book, wouldn’t it benefit the author to advertise to potential readers who – get this –  are probably not on Twitter.  I’m trying to understand how tweets to other writers, and  followers who also want to become known in their own right, will increase your readership.

Now, I realize having a Twitter account adds a bit of luster to your curriculum vitae (CV), but will it sell books to readers?  I fully understand there is a Big Brother/Big Sister somewhere keeping track, however, and when you’re in touch with an agent, or publisher the question surfaces – are you on Twitter?  But, has this in itself turned to a high-priced game of, oh I don’t know – chicken? (You know, if you’re not on Twitter, then you get hit by the car.)  This profession is a serious full-time job.  Now, add running a blog, working outside the home, and lastly marketing.  I would like to ask another question.  Do you write about everything, or only about craft?  If it is only on writing, why?  Don’t all these things eat away at your time as it is?  Who do you want reading your material; other writers, or everyone?  Maybe, once in a while to encourage, or to present a new issue, something you may have recently learned, but otherwise would  there be a need?

Wouldn’t you prefer to gather readers instead, allowing them a peek at your world versus what you know about writing?  How will that help the reader who is searching for, well….reading material.  Once you’ve grabbed their attention then, hopefully they’ll come again.  Trying to make one’s way through this world of publishing is a difficult task.  Thinking about this takes me back to square one – gather your readership before the contract is ever negotiated.  But, like I said, will you find them on Twitter?  Yes, there is the occasional reader/reviewer who signs on, and follows you, the writer.  Then, there are others who have subscribed to your blog.  Those are two categories of which you want more.

Lastly, I’d like to mention tweeting that book information.  Isn’t that like screaming in to a massive empty glass bubble?  Again, this doesn’t get the information out to potential readers.  Unlike owning a company where social medial can provide a channel of open dialogue between that company and the consumer, to name one thing.  But, this is a rule that does not apply to the writer.  I have never professed to know how, or which form of social media is best for this field, but I had to put the question out there.  I have heard authors talking of cutting their Twitter time way back, because they had not received the return they first thought.  What I’m getting at is, Twitter is a great platform for networking, but is anyone else out there with me when I say, it’s the person feverishly turning the pages who sky-rocket the numbers.  Isn’t putting your work in the hands of the “public at large” what you want versus it simply going to Wilhelmina Writer’s Twitter stream somewhere in Anywhereville, South Dakota.  To reiterate, for those who are aspiring, running a blog and tweeting that post is great advertisement, and will absolutely get you on the map.  But, a contract equals lock down time, which does not include Twitter.  For me, I guess I’ll hang on a bit longer, but once I sell something, I do believe my time will be cut way back as well on this planet called Twitter.  Please, give me your thoughts and/or change my opinion.

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

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To Become An Author

One of the publishing houses I follow on Twitter asked a very interesting question.  Name the first book that got you into reading?  (I’m paraphrasing of course).  I thought about it and frowned, thinking – whoo, it’s been so long there is no possible way I could remember.  However, I couldn’t resist the urge to respond.  What came to mind at the time – The Diary of Anne Frank.  In this post, I’d like to discuss writing, but I cannot do that without talking about the foundation – reading.  I know that I began reading very early, although, again it has become somewhat fuzzy, and many books did come along before that specific one.  What I can honestly recall takes me back to the last half of the second grade.  Now, I said all of that to put your brain into thought mode, and ask when you knew you wanted to write?

I think the desire probably comes at an early age, even if it doesn’t reveal itself. Doesn’t the want come about after hours and hours of reading – one by one, hand in hand, so to speak?  Has anyone ever stopped to think about the process of reading? I mean, as much as I love children, I have to reflect on my teachers.  I think about the time and energy they put into their craft.  What I’m saying is, although I have a great love for children it takes a special person to develop the ability or the desire to teach.  With that being said, I had journalism classes as early as my Sophomore year in high school, but I know I began to play around with the art of writing way before.  Very early on I composed poems in the dark –  I should say, behind closed doors.  Together with the loads of books being read, stacks of tablets existed as well.  Unfortunately, as I moved a couple of times as a child most of those early writings were lost or destroyed.

I know somewhere along the way, I have said this before, but I think all writers have stories clanging around in their heads.  With me, even though I dabbled all along, it didn’t really catch hold until later in life.  In 1999 I watched a Saturday night premier movie on Home Box Office, which will remain nameless.  I said to my husband, “I have a story in me that’s just as good as that, if not better.” At that instant I knew I had been playing with the desire, and procrastinating in getting started long enough.  The time had come for me to dig my determination out of the basement, dust it off, polish it to a high sheen, and hang it someplace where the shine would blind me each time I walked by.  But, as I said, I knew way before then that I wanted to write.  I’m even going to say, the desire struck me somewhere in my teenage years.  I don’t think reading or writing can ever be taken nonchalantly or for granted.  I’d like to bring to remembrance the bumper sticker that reads, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”  Now, share with me when the aspiration hit you to become an author?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Writing the story …by Nancy LaPonzina

This week, help me welcome Nancy LaPonzina to my website.  After you’ve read her post, find out about her and then, take a look at her pretty unbelievable book trailer at the end of the page.  And, don’t forget to tell us what you think.

I’ve become interested lately in writers’ process. What do they do to come away from their writing experience with a great story? What they read surely must shape some of that … and where they live, or don’t live, and their experience with what life offers.

So I wondered, what do writers read when they aren’t writing? When I read, I most enjoy stories in which I share some commonality … be it a location, the heroine’s interests—career, hobbies, family, or style—or when I learn something new about almost anything. Even recipes find their way into my kitchen from a story.

I search Amazon for subjects about alternative health remedies, archaeology, England, France, and Italy. In my current work in progress, a sequel to Nardi Point, my characters travel to Rome and encounter the fabulous Pantheon, the Keyhole, great food of course, and the delight of walking in the biggest archaeological “dig” in the world. I’ve Googled novel locations, and attempt to see what the characters see as the story unfolds. Nardi Point takes place entirely in Raleigh, North Carolina, an area I know quite well.

What about keeping the story going through the middle, keeping it interesting for both the reader and the writer? I’ve found if you choose to explore themes of genuine personal interest in your story, it resounds with readers. We all share common experiences as we go along day-to-day; presenting thoughtful themes pauses the reader to rethink or revision their lives. Past themes I’ve explored in my stories: the dynamic of beauty in a relationship; the effect of coincidence in pairing; the importance of living a thoughtful life; preserving meaningful life moments against capitalism and greed; the toxic workplace; and the alarm and effect of destruction on native plant life.

I can’t think of a more exciting effort than writing fiction. There’s the joy of hearing from readers who love your story and share how a character is just like someone they know, or how the story line made them rethink a decision. That’s awesome! And then there are the whisperings from characters who want to tell their stories next. I have bare bone plot ideas for story number three and Rhose Gurrin is making her voice heard. And, I must listen! For those of you who write, or want to write, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of the writing life. It’s too big of a deal to pass by!

About Nancy

Chanticleer Reviews 2012 Blue Ribbon First Place Published Novels Contest Award winning author Nancy LaPonzina writes women’s fiction in the beautiful Franklin County countryside under Carolina blue skies. Her stories explore thoughtful characters involved in challenging life situations, and braid in a dollop of archaeology, the metaphysical, and alternative healing modalities.

Her professional career includes technical writing, providing website content, clinical Registered Nurse experience, school newspaper columns, publication in national magazines and editor responsibilities for community service organizations.

All confirmed paper, books, journals … all things writing are her true touchstones. She lives in Youngsville with husband Thom, and their rescue Maine Coon cat, Copy.
Nardi Point, her debut novel, is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and in Raleigh, NC, QuailRidge Books & Music, Dancing Moon Books Raleigh, and Zest Cafe and Home Art.

How to catch up with Nancy

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Whew! We Dodged That Bullet

Before I get started, I’d like to wish everyone here in America a Happy 4th of July.  Now, moving on – last Friday night I thought my house would succumb and wind up over the rainbow like Dorothy and Toto.  My husband relaxed in bed reading, while I prepared to sleep the computer and join him with my book.  Just before I did I decided to check on the weather, since the wind had kicked up.  So, I clicked on the television as I went by, attempting to get to the Weather Channel.  But, before I could get there, one of those “EAS” messages came up interrupting all programming, and the announcer advised of a tornado on the ground, west of us.  Just then, the thunder and lightning began to crack, so I decided to walk to the back of the house and take a gander outside from the sunroom.  The instant I reached the door, there my neighbor stood with her camcorder – videotaping the western sky.  Unbelievably taken aback by all the goings on, I never thought to do that.  But, WOW! what great video that would have made.

The western sky had layers and layers of black menacing and angry clouds waving along, and forming an abstract of which no one could duplicate, while flashes of lightning lit the lower heavens, turning it different shades of lavender and pink.  In awe, I stood watching, unable to move.  Suddenly, the wind became even stronger, and I rushed to turn the t.v. off and hit the bed with my husband, because remember I wanted to read…well, to try to read.  What better time to enjoy a book, huh?  I turned to walk away, when that same profound cloud formation caught my attention.  The wind appeared to create a funnel on one end.  It definitely appeared the beginning of a twister.  Then, out of nowhere, the wind came back around and thankfully sheared off the bottom.  After so much popping, booming and cracking from the thunder, I finally headed for the bedroom; nerves so frayed, the next step for me would be chewing at my nails – something I never do.  At that point the lights began blinking, and my husband voiced, “Uh oh.”  I hurriedly ran for the flashlight, just in case, and hit the bed like a gymnast.

Just as I got comfortable and opened my book, it began – slowly – plink…plink…plink…then, thunk…thunk…thunk. This noise drove my husband to the sunroom door – louder and louder it became.  I crept behind him wondering what on earth it could be.  It never dawned on me – hail – quarter size, hitting the windows and the glass in the door. Then, heavier and faster it came.  At that point, I had almost begun to hyperventilate, and at instances I think I even forgot to breath.  Because, now I’m remembering what I learned about hail, that it is always at the back end of a cyclone.  If you recall, I mentioned that somewhere in one of my blogs.  I had this nagging in my gut telling me this heavy hail would for sure blow out one of my windows.  But, what could we do?

The entire experience proved completely unbelievable, and without a doubt surreal.  We continued watching, as the rain and hail came down so hard we couldn’t even make out the neighbor’s house, yard or anything.  For an instant, my mind began to deceive me; I thought, why not run outside to see if I could stand in the wind and hail stones.  But, my senses returned, and I realized I’d only be pelted by the pummeling frozen balls.  For another instant I had the sensation of a three-year old – wanting to bury my head in my husband’s chest and wish it all away.  Suddenly, after what my brain knew to be an eternity (fifteen minutes, I’m sure), it all blew over.  The driving rain became a sprinkle, the pelting balls ceased, the wind eased from the trees, and they began to still and straighten.  Finally, the booming thunder sounded from a distance, indicating the storm had at last moved on.  And, I must say this woman is still, even at this moment, quite thankful we didn’t lose power as so many others did.  In fact, there are still people without power.  But, we dodged that bullet.

Oh, yes, this is supposed to be News week – the post did start out that way, but got lost somewhere along the way in Artsyville.  Oh well…do you have any scary weather stories you’d like to share?

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

To Become An Author

A few weeks ago Banned Books claimed time for commemorating.  One of the publishing houses I follow on Twitter asked a very interesting question – Name the first book that got you into reading? (I’m paraphrasing of course).  I thought about it and frowned, thinking; whoo, it’s been so long there is no possible way I could remember.  However, I couldn’t resist the urge to respond.  What came to mind at the time – The Diary of Anne Frank.  In this post, I’d like to discuss writing, but I cannot do that without talking about the foundation – reading.  I know that I began reading very early, although, again it has become somewhat fuzzy, and many books did come along before that specific one.  What I can honestly recall takes me back to the last half of the second grade.  Now, I said all of that to put your brain into thought mode, and ask when you knew you wanted to write?

I think the desire probably comes at an early age, even if it doesn’t reveal itself. Doesn’t the want come about after hours and hours of reading – one by one, hand in hand, so to speak?  Has anyone ever stopped to think about the process of reading? I mean, as much as I love children, I have to reflect on my teachers.  I think about the time and energy they put into their craft.  What I’m saying is, although I have a great love for children it takes a special person to develop the ability or the desire to teach.  With that being said, I had journalism classes as early as my Sophomore year in high school, but I know I began to play around with the art of writing way before.  Very early on I composed poems in the dark –  I should say, behind closed doors.  Together with the loads of books being read, stacks of tablets existed as well.  Unfortunately, as I moved a couple of times as a child most of those early writings were lost or destroyed.

I know somewhere along the way, I have said this before, but I think all writers have stories clanging around in their heads.  With me, even though I dabbled all along, it didn’t really catch hold until later in life.  In 1999 I watched a Saturday night premier movie on Home Box Office, which will remain nameless.  I said to my husband, “I have a story in me that’s just as good as that, if not better.” At that instant I knew I had been playing with the desire, and procrastinating in getting started long enough.  The time had come for me to dig my determination out of the basement, dust it off, polish it to a high sheen, and hang it someplace where the shine would blind me each time I walked by.  But, as I said, I knew way before then that I wanted to write.  I’m even going to say, the desire struck me somewhere in my teenage years.  I don’t think reading or writing can ever be taken nonchalantly or for granted.  I’d like to bring to remembrance the bumper sticker that reads, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”  Now, share with me when the aspiration hit you to become an author?

Again, if you’re here, don’t forget to click “like” on my Facebook Fan Page in the upper right of this page, and thank you.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto