Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Sunday 8 March 2015

Another Online Festival...This Times it's Crime!

Last month it was an online romance festival, and now for March there's an online crime festival.

It's being run by event teams from Waterstones, and the HarperCollins imprint, Killer Reads, and takes place Friday 13th March from 2pm, to Saturday 14th March at 8pm.

You can sign up free on their eventbrite page, and that will ensure that you'll get all the details via email to your inbox.

The festival will be a mix of live and virtual events. The live part comes via a number of Waterstones branches that will be holding events with crime authors, so if you're near a Waterstones branch then check with them to see if they're hosting any events.

A few of the branches involved: Liverpool, Brighton, Plymouth Drake Circus, Edinburgh West End, and Romford.

Apparently, Ian Rankin will be on a Twitter Q&A.

The virtual events will be taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and on the Killer reads blog. You can find their blog by going to this page.

On Twitter follow @HarperCollinsUK, and most Waterstones branches have their own twitter accounts so you should be able to find your local branch.

But for full details of all events you need to sign up via eventbrite, and as everything starts Friday, sign up as soon as you can so you can plan your time.

If it is anything like the romance festival was, you'll be torn between events, wanting to do everything, but having to make decisions on which you choose- or madly keyboard hopping between Facebook and Twitter!

Look out for the festival hashtag: #KILLERFEST15

Enjoy the experience...

Sunday 8 February 2015

Virtual Romance...

No, not online dating... :D This weekend is #Romance2015.

(Though if you're reading this later in the week it will be last weekend.)

I've  spent about five hours this afternoon at my desk, logged into Facebook to benefit from the sessions arranged for this year's virtual Romance Festival; it's been taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Hangouts, as well as regular updates on their wordpress blog.

You can find all the details and links to the social media pages hosting this weekend's sessions. So go along to this page, here.

Each session was 30 minutes, but the discussions and answers to the numerous questions writers were asking, carried on beyond that.

Everything started at 2pm with marketers from both HarperCollins and Mills and Boon, helping out with answers to marketing and social media.Obviously this is an important subject for self-publishers, but also those with publishers.

Building social profile, and engaging with your audience was important, but not to spread yourself too thinly by trying to use too many channels.

And building your mailing list enables you to get to your readers- Sam Missingham said that readers 'engage on social media, but buy from emails'. Mailchimp was one suggestion for newsletters to send to your list.

Pinterest seemed to be another useful media to develop. I'm signed up, but just need to do something with it! :-) But this subject was covered later on.

Then it was on to Book Bloggers, and if you want to know how to approach them to review your book, then you really should read that session. Did you know they had review policies?

Moving on through a Fern Britton video, and the interesting Jill Mansell, there was writing support groups and friends- everyone who commented valued these highly.

Lots of interest in Phillipa Ashley's tips on writing 'steamy' scenes. Some great advice. I liked the answer to someone's question about the right words for 'bits and bobs' in steamy scenes; it was suggested writing out a list of words and crossing out 'any that make you shudder'.

There was time for Goodreads, another area I've dipped my toe in, but not done much with. I'll be venturing into that again soon...

From Historical tips- I needed a break by this point, too many cups of coffee, don't think I need to say more.

Design and marketing was very popular and well worth reading through. These were answered by Katie Roden, co-founder of Fixabook.

The writers were very aware of the importance of cover design, and a few of Katie's suggestions, beside getting a very good cover design, was giving the designer as much information as possible in the cover brief you provide; create a mood board/playlist for the book which reflects how you want the reader to feel.

I just managed to last out through the 6.30pm session on Pinterest, with The Literary Shed. This will probably be an area I try to concentrate on developing over the year. 'It's less about direct marketing' I was told, and more about how 'your potential readership view you' and your books, and the genre you write in.

Sunday has lots of opportunities for readers, and you can find out what's scheduled on their blog post.

I enjoyed the writers day; learnt a lot, and have to say that it was even better than last year. Perhaps knowing what to expect this time helped.

Hope this will be back in 2016...

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Virtual Romance Festival Back...

Just seen the news that the HarperCollins Virtual Romance Festival is returning for a second year- save the weekend dates of the 7th and 8th February in your diary.

I've just registered for the event- it's free.

As last year, one day will be aimed at writers, and the other for readers.

Again events will take place on Facebook, Twitter, the Festival's Wordpress site, and Google Hangouts.

Last year the Wordpress site got temporarily shut down, so hopefully that won't happen this time, as it kept everyone up to the moment on who was where...

Most of the 2014 writers day I spent on Facebook; as there was a different person/subject every hour, and I found it very useful. Lots of writers asking questions and sharing their experiences and thoughts.

And experts generously sharing their expertise and answering the barrage of questions.

Twitter was a bit too fast paced for me to keep up with that as well, but I was able to access many of the other events I missed from the links in the emails sent, and the Wordpress site when it was back up and running.

This announcement on the Bookseller website will give you some general information, and includes the link to the Eventbrite page to register.

Bookseller article with Eventbrite link, here.

If you're on Facebook you can like their RomanceFestival page.

So often it can be difficult for writers to get to Festivals and Conferences in person, so this virtual event is a fantastic opportunity to take part without leaving home.

If you missed last year's festival in June, then here's my blog post from last year sharing my experience of the writers day.

If you go, enjoy every busy minute. :-)

Monday 23 June 2014

Memories Inspire...

I've just been posting an album, to my personal Facebook page, of some of the photos that I took in Bath last month- a few I'd previously used in my blog posts, but there are others I didn't use...

That got me thinking how often my story ideas are inspired, triggered, by visual images; or an image brings buried memories to the surface.

I admit that I am one of those annoying people who will be watching an old movie on TV and say, 'oh, this is the one where...' I'm sure you know someone like that. I apologise. :)

A lot of my photos would mean little to anyone else because they are connected to a particular idea I have, a thought about a possible scene, or a specific character. Some are just to capture how something looks.

I even have images for ideas that don't even exist yet, but something told me I needed to take a photo of it- I just put it down to how my brain works.

If I have a camera at hand, good, but if I don't then some images get stored. I don't have a photographic memory, so perhaps it's more a 'selective' memory, though perhaps we all do that...

I haven't touched my Dorset novel for over a year because I've concentrated on the novella, but I will be coming back to it soon - even if it means alternating weeks on the two stories.

I was looking through all the photos I have saved from my research trips to Dorset, and I found one particular one that I can see my hero Marcus reproducing, but I have to write the rest of the story (chapter 4 onwards) to reach that stage.

This is my husband late afternoon on Chesil Beach looking out to sea. The picture is from 2008-sadly the pixels were low on the camera I was using, so it's not as good as I'd like...

 But it does remind me of the light, and the movement
Looking out to sea on Chesil Beach...
 of the sea when the weather is calm.

Images capture a moment in time, and whenever we look at them they remind us of the past- both good and bad.

Glad to say, this is one of many happy images...

Sunday 8 June 2014

Asking Questions and Learning...

Asking questions and learning from the answers is fairly standard for writers at any level, but imagine that 10-20, 100 times over...

That was yesterday at the first day of the virtual Romance Festival (today-Sunday- concentrates on readers).

Everything kicked off at 2pm, and having checked out the programme first thing that morning, I'd decided to concentrate on the Facebook page- though I did pop in to have a quick look at the Twitter side #Romance14.

(At the time of writing this post, their blog has technical issues, so once it's back up and running you'll be able to access all the author Q&A blog posts at: so check it out later.)

Having the ability to ask questions of the guests, and at the same time discuss the subjects with fellow writers was good, as not all of those joining in were in the UK, so you got a different view. Add to that the guests were only there for 1 hour, you'll understand how active the page was- I had to refresh the page a few times to ensure I didn't miss anything.

The Facebook page started out with two novelists ( Anoushka Knight and Fionnuala Kearney) talking about their journey to publication.

3pm's book cover session was popular. This was with Mark Ecob, a cover designer, and there were discussion on fitting covers to genre,  typefaces that work, motifs and images, among the discussions.

All too soon it was over and another popular guest was introduced, agent Madeline Milburn. We all received answers to our questions, and there were useful tips on covering letters, and that she wanted to see a strong voice, and strong characters that hooked her into the story...

Probably the most valuable advice given was to research the agency's as much as possible, as she said there is a lot of information available on the web, especially with agent interviews and talks.

I liked the fact that she said she didn't represent specific genres, that she represented the author...

Moving on it was the turn of Mark Lefebvre from Kobo; he talked about Kobo Writing Life (the equivalent of Amazon's KDP) and you'll find links in some of his answers.

As you probably guessed Romance is one of their highest selling genres. I think we all wanted to know how others ranked. Well Erotica - "More Active Romance". :) was followed by Thriller/Mystery, then Fantasy and next, Sci-fi.

It was certainly an information filled session, so do have a look at it if you want to find out more.

The last couple of hours featured Harper Impulse authors chatting about 'What I've Learned In My First Year Of Being Published' and then author and journalist Tess Stimson who was talking about writing as a career.

I did pop over to Twitter to catch a few of agent Carole Blake's answers to questions, but by this time my head was buzzing and I needed food (amazing how using mental energy can make you hungry) so signed out.

Events like this enable writers and industry professionals to get-together without having to leave their desk (sofa, sun lounger or wherever they're accessing the web) and it benefits us all.

As great as it is to go to conferences and talks, it isn't always possible, or affordable when you add on transport and accommodation costs, so virtual events like this are fantastic.

Hope we can look forward to another weekend next year...

If you want to find out about today's programme, then look here.

Sunday 1 June 2014

A Virtual Romance Festival for Readers and Writers - 7-8 June...

This week it's back to work. I'll be resuming the novella edit, as well as starting on with a few other projects.

I've also signed up to next weekend's first virtual Romance Festival, taking place online - you do need to register, but it's FREE. Register on the Eventbrite page here.

Once you've signed up you can find out more, but just in case you're not convinced I'll give you a little more information. :D

This virtual festival is for both aspiring writers and those already established, and readers too; a way we can all celebrate romance, discover new authors, and books, and getting them to the readers.

Authors from Harper Impulse, Mills and Boon, Avon- both UK and US, and Piatkus, Carina and independents will be taking part- something for everyone...

Saturday is the author spotlight;  Sunday the reader spotlight.

For writers it will be a day to develop your skills. I'm looking forward to the book covers and elements on marketing and PR, to name a few.

Readers, there'll be give-aways, insights into writers and their books, and I quote, "Hot men!" :D

No doubt by the time next weekend arrives there will have been a lot more added, as this virtual festival is being supported by the RNA, various romance publishers not already mentioned, and numerous authors; a few names I certainly recognise: Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews, Eloisa James, Phillipa Ashley, Jessica Blair, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

And there's lots more.

Whether we're writers of romance, or just readers of romance, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to find out more then have a look at their social media links.

On Facebook it's /RomanceFestival

Twitter: @RomanceFestival

Website: see the Eventbrite link at the top.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Amazon Has No Right to Decide "Perceived" "Close Personal Relationship" for Reviews

You'll all remember last year's 'sock puppetry' scandal, when it was revealed that RJ Ellory had been leaving bad reviews on rivals books on Amazon; while others had been leaving good reviews on their books using alternative names/e-mail addresses.

Most writers would not be so unethical as to deliberately give bad reviews to fellow writers' books. Basically they would give an honest review good or bad, or if it's really bad, tell the author privately, if they can.

But now it seems Amazon have applied a sledgehammer approach and are taking it upon themselves to decide writers' close relationships with fellow writers of the same genre.

I think we all thought the reviews that were being removed before Christmas on were aimed at self-published or independent publishers, where friends and fellow writers were likely to post reviews-usually after reading the book.

But it seems 'names' are annoyed too.

Today's Bookseller online has a piece, 'Authors Angry over Amazon review crackdown' worth reading- if you haven't already.

I missed this Telegraph article over Christmas on the subject.

Amazon seem to have decided that they are going to judge whether the writer of a review is "perceived" to have a "close personal relationship" with rivals.

On what basis do they decide that one person appears to have a close personal relationship with the writer of a book they've reviewed?

Do they define it by the other person following and commenting on your blog, or website, or perhaps talking to you on Facebook? Or do you have to actually have met them in real life- and there's online photographic evidence?

Have Amazon never heard of workshops and writing conferences?
A lot of writers become friends at such events and keep in touch, even though they may have never met them before, or never meet them again, merely exchange comments on social media.

If I was considering buying a book on the basis of the reviews, I'm more likely to find the reviews posted are by fellow writers from within the same genre, or genuine fans of the writer's work- who aren't going to say it's good when it really is bad, and can highlight the strengths and weaknesses.

Why should Amazon decide my views on a book/genre aren't valid merely because they could consider I have a "perceived" "close personal relationship" with a writer of the same genre?

If Amazon want to be stupid then they will have to realise, some people will stop posting reviews and will post them on other numerous book sites, and sales may follow.

One writer on Facebook yesterday complained a good review on her book had been removed. It had been posted by the partner of someone she knew, though she herself didn't know the person who'd done the review, the book had been a Christmas gift and absolutely nothing to do with the author in any way. CORRECTION: The circumstances were a misunderstanding on my part and I apologise to the writer involved. It appears the reviewer stated that the book had been a present from his partner.
But the case still stands as the author had no connection with either the buyer, or reviewer.

If Amazon wants reviewers to declare if they know the person whose book they have reviewed, I would have no problem with that.

Publishers send review copies of new books out. Perhaps newspaper book sections should start carrying a warning, 'this review is the result of a free review copy'. But I don't see this happening anytime soon...

Have you found previously published Amazon reviews of your books missing?

What do you think of this situation?

Or just share your thoughts...


Sunday 2 September 2012

Keyboard Troubles Are Now Over...

I'm now back in writing action after a few days of keyboard troubles.

It's only when your keyboard starts to randomly malfunction that you realise how valuable the Shift key actually is...

I'm a creature of habit, whenever I log on, the first thing I do is check my e-mail accounts, so when I found I could only get ' instead of the @ symbol I jumped to the obvious conclusion that I'd not pressed the shift key, but when I tried again and it still happened (repeatedly) I panicked.

Okay I only went into panic mode for a moment, as common sense returned and I used the diagnostics on my computer. It made a few changes and the shift keys started working again. Until later it did it again.

By yesterday I'd lost any symbol that needed the shift key to access it. I had to resort to copying and pasting the @ symbol to get to my e-mails, or to log in to Twitter and Facebook.
I couldn't ask a question as I couldn't get the ? and I didn't think it was right that a writer should ask a question and not use a question mark. :-)

So this morning my OH went and purchased a new keyboard- a drive to the nearest retail park.

What a shock.

All the keys are raised on this Advent keyboard, including the up and down buttons and separate number pad. This is the first time I've used this type of keyboard, and now I'm getting used to it, I quite like it.

My nails slipped down the edges at first, but as I'm a one or two finger typer I can adjust as is needed.

The letters of the alphabet appear larger which I'm finding helpful. As I don't touch type I'm scanning for the less frequently used keys as I go, but I'm now finding the raised keys very useful as it's much easier to locate the correct letter, so in fact I'm typing quicker.

And of course all new products have to be energy efficient; this one has a Power/Sleep/Wake Up keys too.

I'm pleasantly surprised; and looking forward to seeing if it helps me when I'm in a long writing session.

I'm off to catch up on all the interesting blogs and articles I've missed the last couple of days...

Thursday 2 August 2012

The Next Stage-Facebook...

When I joined Twitter earlier in the year I said the next stage would be Facebook.

Well today I joined Facebook and my head is now spinning!

It is really simple to get started- which I thought might not be what I call 'simple', but it really was easier than I expected-as soon as I'd gone through the settings adjusting where needed...

I have my main page-Carol Bevitt, and my Carol Bevitt-writer page.

At the moment finding my way around is a little daunting, but I'm getting used to the mechanics of it.

But I really must get some up to date photos done...

So many people use Facebook for getting information and staying in touch, as well as offers and competitions by companies I use, that I decided I had to spend some time getting organised.

In the autumn two pieces of my flash fiction will be appearing in the One Word Challenge Anthology e-book, so a writer/author page is important, and best set up and established before the anthology is released.

And I still have hopes for my short story sent to Woman's Weekly...

Thursday 8 March 2012

Social Marketing -the Talk...

I spent most of Wednesday answering the phone, exchanging e-mails and putting together a hand-out on social media, and a mini talk sheet on blogging, for myself -because the speaker who was booked for Wednesday night at Nottingham Writers' Club was ill, and as I was also going to be the chair that night, I needed to get an alternative arranged.

Aware that writers of all ages and experience need to make the most of current technology, I contacted fellow member David Bowman-writer, e-book publisher, and proficient in social networking-and between us we agreed a format for the evening.

Now my part was very small, I covered blogging, so anyone at the meeting who might be considering a blog would (hopefully) realise that it isn't hard to do and is a great way to start making themselves known. I talked about free blogs, building up followers and the types of posts a writer might use their blog for- such as announcing a competition win, or a short story sale/publication date...

David talked about Facebook and Twitter, and also author websites.

The recommendations that I picked up, relating to Facebook, was keeping your account for personal, fun things, and your writing for your author page- (your name) writer; so book news, links and photos relating to your writing goes only on that page, so your readers go there for the information. And of course if you have different pseudonyms, it makes it easier to distinguish between different genres, if you write in more than one category- so that's more than one writer name for me then.

As I recently joined Twitter and was discovering for myself, hashtags # are not only useful but important; retweeting can be helpful. That there is a fine line between over promotion and sharing good news, so its clearly something that you learn by actually doing once you're on Twitter.

But never underestimate how widely your tweets can be seen. Every tweet seen by your followers, is seen by the followers of each of them- so you never know who and how many will see that interesting piece of information...

Now websites. This was interesting; having a press area that was kept up to date, so the latest press release was available was important. As David explained if a journalist wants to interview you they'll have gone and checked out all the information on your website so they don't need to waste time asking basic questions- which is logical when you consider modern day journalism.

We finally talked about Amazon and e-book ratings, and how a writer promoting their books on Amazon can use these various methods of social marketing to bring potential book buyers to their work, by promotions and free book offers- so get high up in the Amazon rankings and it will enable you to get Amazon to promote your book which could be very useful if you're a relative unknown.

I'd not considered all these various methods being used together to maximise exposure- but then I'm only on stage 2 of my marketing plan at the moment... Yes, apparently you should have a marketing plan.

The words I did take take away from the talk were as follows: politeness; being professional and start this networking before you have the publishing deal...

I've got a long way to go, but at least I've started.

Friday 10 February 2012

Woman's Own - Opportunity or Free Copy?

There's a lot of writers commenting on the Woman's Own (WO) Facebook page. If I was signed up to Facebook, I'd have commented too.

They are offering 'budding authors' the chance to submit a story and the best entries will appear in their Summer Special. The piece clearly says 'There is no fee for publication'.

Now this is not a small magazine, it is part of a big company, so why not pay for those chosen stories?

WO stopped their regular fiction slots many years ago when they moved toward the real-life story market- and probably to compete with the flurry of new magazines opening (and selling in high numbers) that concentrated on real-life, celebrities and fashion.

I bought Woman and Woman's Own for years (before the changes) and loved reading the fiction pages. In fact I grew up with them both, along with Woman's Realm...

Many writers, who have left comments on WO's Facebook page, have expressed dismay and have mentioned that the editor and staff expect to be paid for their work, so why not the writers?

WO have not headlined it as a competition with a prize. And their response to criticism has been that readers have asked about writing short stories for them, and that it's not for professional writers...

I don't mean this unkindly, but (sadly) we all know people who think they can write a short story, but don't even know the basics.

(I speak from experience here (a few years ago) when I was the phone contact for the writers club, someone rang me up and it was clear from their remarks that they hadn't checked guidelines, and expected the well-known magazine they were asking about, to automatically accept their story.)

And then there are the inexperienced new writers who see it as an opportunity to be published and don't yet understand about payments and rights- if they understand about these things and want to enter knowing that, then fine, they aren't entering blindfolded.

I'm not against writing for free sometimes. Usually the writer is doing it for a particular reason and are happy to do so, and that's fine too. I've done it myself.

But if a story is good enough to be published in a magazine with a wide circulation, available to buy in major and chain newsagents and corner-shops, then it's good enough for the short story writer to be paid...

So, an opportunity or free copy for the magazine?