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Gardening and other prep

pomegranateThe season is turning. The heat of summer is giving way to cooler Autumn days. The plants are grateful. Here the leaves don’t glow with colour. The weather stays warm too  long and the leaves simply fall. But we do have pomegranates.

holy basilI trimmed the holy basil and it has a flush of new green growth. The seeds are stored for next summer, along with those of the sweet basil, which definitely hasn’t gotten the message that summer is over. sweet basil

Roses are enjoying a burst of colour. Insects are everywhere, and so are the birds eating them. I always know when it’s lawn beetle grub season because the magpies descent for afternoon tea and Toby is a good boy and (mostly) doesn’t chase them away.

rosesThere’s an energy to autumn that wakes me up after the lethargy of summer heat. I have big plans for the next few months, writing plans, but for now they’re sshhh while I think on them. I’d hate to promise what I can’t deliver.

How about you? Do you have any special autumn/spring plans?

 

Image, Baby

Life seems to me to be a long journey through trying to understand, thinking you understand, to realising you’re wrong. Or maybe that’s just me faced with the ever-evolving online world?

I thought being an author meant obsessing about words. It does. But I’m now convinced that if being an author means having an online presence, then an author also has to think visually. Images as well as words enter our toolbox. And if you’re not convinced of the role of images in social media then this post from the Social Media Examiner is a must read. Should I haul out the old cliche? A picture is worth a thousand words.

It's Love, Dude graphicCanva.com is my latest graphic design toy — it’s free! The templates are handy for the graphically challenged [insert photo of me ;) ]  I like the results and have updated my FB and G+ profile banners using it.

Speaking of G+, my page there is a good example of how images are now the predominant casual-share. To catch people’s attention, you need a picture. Social media platforms are restructuring to channel you along that path.

Just as soon as I get a little time (my writing schedule is all to hell and gone after this summer ) I intend to revise my social media strategy to offer a coherent image-rich presence across all the (way too many) social media I use.

How do you use images in your online communications? Do you follow anyone who you think uses them particularly well?

Being an Author

It's Love Dude coverAuthors are the whole bag of tricks.

I still remember the online conversation when I first self-identified as an author – and the wonderful Carina Press authors who said “Of course you are!” Back then (the Dark Ages, it was 2010) I had a clear idea of the distinction between writers and authors. Writers are people who write. Authors are people who’ve been published.

Memories Of Love_FinalPause a moment to take a nostalgic sigh for those innocent days.

That was the last gasp of an era when editors and publishers were gatekeepers. I lived and breathed that air and needed the validation of editorial approval and the concrete expression of a published book to believe myself an author.

So to return to my ancient definition: writers write; authors write plus are published.

These days, I shake my head at my own delusions. Do you know how often Charles Darwin went on the lecture circuit? Well, no, neither do I, but it was lots. The point was, his books weren’t the only element that defined him as an author. He was an author because he lived that public role.Drawing Closer

Aha! Do you see where I’m going with this post?

Writers write. Authors write plus they act like authors.

Self-publishing means the old gatekeepers no longer define who is and isn’t an author (even for deluded people like me). The issue of who is an author is self-defined.

But if you put on the author hat, you have to walk in its boots, too. There’s a lot of mud to slog through.

Writers produce the product. Authors sell it.

Some lucky people manage to focus only on writing, and somehow *sprinkles fairy dust* their books still sell really well. For most of us, that stuff on our shoulders is dandruff, not fairy dust.

Authors study their market. What will they write, for who, on what publication schedule and how will they publish it (which publisher or self-published)?

Courting Trouble - SteampunkThey have a marketing plan – and this is so much more than a promotional tour in the book’s release week. This is the hard slog bit of designing your social media strategy and sticking to it. Who are you as an author and where are you online? What are your strengths and your weaknesses (and this includes whether you can be trusted on Twitter or whether you’ll procrastinate forever)? Where is your community and how can you contribute to it? Remember, you have to bank a heck of a lot of social credit before you can draw some to help promote your next book. People are busy!

Authors remember that the financials of their business (yes, business!) have to add up. Believe me, there’s only so long even a romance author can live on love ;) Mistaken Engagement_cvr

That said, authors are realistic. They learn through experience what is and isn’t within their control. Ideally, we’d put our energy into what we can influence, but most of us spend a lot of time fretting over things we can’t change – like making Jane at Dear Author review my books. Do you think I can bribe her with TimTams? No? *sigh*

Finally, authors are passionately committed to the craft of writing. Producing a quality product is their most important work and they know it. But we know that all that other stuff is necessary, too.

Can someone please pass the coffee?Bellrose2.jpg

Where am I?

I think I’m spread too thin across social media. Just look at the number of buttons on the left side of this blog. Ouch! Anyways, I thought I’d do a round up of where I am online, in case any of you are there too and we haven’t connected. I’m a bit shy about “friending” people but I’m delighted when others are braver than me. So, here goes.

Twitter — for quick chats, quips and keeping up with the news.

Facebook – because everyone’s there (kind of like high school) but I don’t really like it. I tend to share funny/cute pics.

Google+ – still trying to work out the role of G+, but if Google takes over the world, I intend to be on that train!

BookLikes — I blog here nearly every day. Just short posts or pics or reshares of other people’s cleverness. Nice community and a good place to review books.

Medium — for thoughtful conversations/articles. I stepped away from this site for a while, but I think I’ll cut down on Facebook time to read articles here.

Goodreads — I have an account and update my reviews, but I don’t really connect with people.

Tumblr — honestly, another blog? I’m not sure how I’ll use Tumblr. I just deleted 1400 of my existing posts there (mammoth delete session) and am re-purposing my use of the site. Expect news, oddities and fashion. Yeah, fashion. I don’t want the heroines I write to have my daggy dress sense :)

It’s Love, Dude – Happiness!

I’m sharing a snippet of It’s Love, Dude over at the Dark Side DownUnder blog, but I’m still not telling if there are woylies or not. I’m mean that way ;)

I had a giddy moment yesterday and created this nonsense:

skygraph

And *drumroll* It’s Love, Dude was mentioned, no make that recommended, in the same post that celebrated Amanda Quick’s books — and I love all her books. It’s Love, Dude: “funny and fearless”. Read the whole post at the Escape Publishing blog - and meet Elizabeth, the new intern with exceptional taste in books!

Giveaway Alert!

I know that if you follow a blog, you often don’t visit the front page of a website, so I thought I’d best share the excitement here, too.

I’ve just joined BookLikes and I’m celebrating with a giveaway of my new release, “It’s Love, Dude“. Mosey on over and investigate. BookLikes looks very promising, and I’d love for you to win my book — BookLikes will be choosing the winners.