Tag Archive | blogging

Blog Tip Series: More than One Account

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Hi! How are you doing today?

Welcome

As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve been MIA because I was working on contest entries and submissions for Writing.com. Also, last week was insanely busy! Needless to say, I’m glad it’s over.

And, I just realized this blog is going to be a year old next month. Honestly, I can’t believe so much has changed in a year. It was around this time last year that I wanted to leave Wattpad behind for good, but I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone told me about WordPress and advised I create a website here. Ya know, sometimes I do miss the old writing site I was on because it was easier to meet other writers (sad, I know), but overall, I still prefer WordPress. It’s nice to write the stories I want without dealing with annoying rules and popularity contests.

Anyway, today’s post isn’t about my blog anniversary, it’s about more blogging tips!

Today’s blogging tip may be a strange one, but it’s something I feel is important. To summarize the tip, it’s “Have more than one Account.” To explain further, I feel many writers have their main base for all their work. Now, that may work for some writers, but I feel it’s important to expand your platform online. For example, if you stick to one website, then you are missing out on other followers and readers.

Let’s say you only have your WordPress blog – that’s all you use. You get a few followers and some readers, but it’s only other users on WordPress, which limits you. If you want to capture potential readers outside of WordPress, then YOU, as the writer or blogger, need to do the work. Remember, we want people to read our content, so we have to search for them. Yes, I know it sucks, and it adds more work, but that’s part of an Author Platform.

We can’t stay in one place and think people will come to us because it doesn’t work like that. If you compare “real life” to the “online world,” then writers in real life essentially do the same thing. They go to writer’s conferences, library events and even ask local bookstores to stock their stories. Hell, I know one writer got popular on Wattpad because they were PMing other users (just readers), to check out their stories.

So, throughout those different avenues, they are finding readers for their work. And when they do that, best believe they are mentioning their website and any blogs they have. So if you do decide to expand outside of WordPress, mention your blog. That way, you’ll bring more readers to you. On my many different websites, I will tell readers about my blog. In the future, I plan to use Instagram to expand myself, and hopefully, grow my blog. Personally, I’ve tried to use Twitter, but I don’t like Twitting every day. Also, I’ve noticed some writers on Twitter are so desperate for readers, they’ll follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine.

However, don’t let my experiences discourage you. If you want to find more readers for your blog, then step outside, and find new places to expand your content. ^__^ After all, finding more readers is like this:

Adventure

(taken from https://giphy.com)

What websites do you use to find readers, and have you enjoyed the experiences there?

Book Review: Stuck in the Game

Hey, everyone!

Today I’m going to post a book review for a fellow blogger and writer, oops, I should say author.

(If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been working on contest entries and manuscript submissions.)

The story is titled, “Stuck in the Game,” by Christopher Keene.

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(image was taken from Amazon)

Note: I was given a copy of the story for this review. I was not paid for writing this. 

I haven’t done an extended book review before, so this is going to be my first one. I decided to divide up this review into three sections:

Plot:

To begin, I’m going to discuss the plot of the story. So, the genre of this book is LitRPG. For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s a subgenre of Science Fiction and Fantasy that describes the hero’s journey within an online computer game. We start the story with the main character, Noah, waking up and finding himself stuck in a Dream Game. After having a car accident, his parents out the Dream Engine is the only way to communicate with him in his unconscious state. Honestly, I liked the opening to the story. For anyone who plays video games, you start at a central point in the character’s  journey. Sometimes that’s the character waking up (cliche, I know), or at the onset of a mission.

Without spoiling the book, I’ll mention a few a few things about the plot I enjoyed:

  • Meeting the different characters was fun to read. Each side character had their own unique personalities and goals.
  • The boss battles were enjoyable. It really felt like reading an RPG to me.
  • The mystery of what happened to the main character’s girlfriend. I thought that plot was fleshed out well.

Here are some things about the plot that bothered me:

  • The twist didn’t feel that shocking, and I felt there were some plot holes.
  • The main bad guy seemed random to the plot, and new characters were thrown in at the end of the book without being mentioned earlier in the story.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the plot. Like with most stories, nothing is perfect, and I wish certain details were fleshed out more.

Character Development:

Again, to avoid spoilers, I won’t mention too much here. I felt Noah only changed in one way during the story. Mostly, he went from avoiding the game to enjoying it. However, I’m not sure if that’s really character growth. He’s stuck in the game, and to survive (not die), he needs to power himself up. Honestly, I didn’t think Noah grew as a person at all during the story. He didn’t learn any lessons, and his views on things didn’t change.

As for the side characters, I only felt one changed during the story. So for character development, I would have to rate this low.

Writing:

If any of you read my stories, you know I’m a descriptive writer so I may be biased here. Don’t get me wrong, the writing wasn’t bad, and it was easy to read, but more description would have been helpful. For the characters, I didn’t get a sense of what they looked like, so it was hard to imagine them. Although, I felt the descriptions of the boss fights and the different realms in the game were well done.

Final Rating:

I’m giving this book 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed reading it and plan to read the second. I want to know what new boss fights await Noah as he learns more about the Dream Game. If you like videos games, or like animes such as “Sword Art Online,” and “.hack,” then this book is for you.

I’ve Returned!

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Hey, everyone! How has your week been? Well, I’m finally back from my trip. For those who are interested, I went to Sedona, AZ with my family. From there, we did the tourist thing and saw the Grand Canyon.

Honestly, the trip was awesome! It was peaceful looking at the red mountains and listening to the water flowing. If I ever decide to make a writer’s retreat, it will be in Sedona.

During my trip, I reflected on who I am and where I want to take my life. Sometimes, we need to break that daily grind to think about our own selves and desires. My biggest goal for the rest of the year is to have no more self-doubt. A fellow writer on Writing.com told me “If people tell you your writing is good, believe them.”

Now, I think the worst thing a writer can do is receive praise for their work and not believe their readers (fans). That’s exactly what I did, and I won’t be doing it anymore.

Also! I came up with so many story ideas while on my trip. I can’t wait to write some new stories and blog posts. Here are some pictures I took:

Also, I wrote a poem about my experience:

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As I stood on the rusty colored dirt road,
my eyes were fixated on the scene before me.

Giant rocks, as they formed through the ages,
captured my sight and entranced me.

Their shapes were mountainous, scary,
but they held an alluring beauty.

Under the desert sun, my worries emptied,
and I reflected on my reason for being.

For I am a writer, and the written word is my course,
and bringing worlds to life is my path.

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Next week, I plan to post the following:
Book Review (a fellow blogger’s story)
Chapter 21 of COT
New blog post

Here is my to-do list for the rest of March:
– Write my entry for the Short Shots contest (Writing.com) 
– Finish my prep month (Profile showcase for Writing.com) 
– Upload the revised chapters for 9/Nine Realms (For review on Writing.com) 
– Write my next short story for publication (Submissions!) 
– Sign up for my Creative Writing class for April

Question: When readers tell you your work is good, do you believe them? (Of course, there is always room for improvement, but do YOU believe your stories are good when readers say it?)

Measuring Accomplishments

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Recently, I’ve been dealing with my self-doubt again. You know, the classic, “I’m a horrible writer,” “I haven’t accomplished anything,” and “I should give up writing and save myself the pain.”

However, today, when I logged into Facebook (which is rare for me), I saw a post my friend wrote. In her post, she mentioned never giving up. She also said if you want to change your life, you have to go out and make that change.

For the past few years, I’ve been trying to change my writing life. Today’s post is more of a personal piece, but I’m posting it in hopes that others will be inspired.

In my writing journey, I’ve been on various writing websites, and I’ve met different writers. For a long time, and even still slightly today, I don’t feel like an accomplished writer. Compared to most writers online, I don’t have millions of people reading my work, I don’t make any money from my stories, and I don’t have any complete stories to publish, yet.

Like most writers, when I first started writing, I was hoping readers would like my work, and I would gain a decent following. Well, that didn’t happen, at all…or so, I thought.

Earlier today, I checked my stats from last year and wrote down a list of everything I’ve accomplished. And well, to my surprise, my own numbers blew me away.

Below is my blog stats for last year…

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Clash of Tides had over 4,000 page views, and the Clash of Tides chapters had over 300 views. In a way, I had a part of what I wanted, but I was blinded by what was in front of me. You are probably wondering why this is important, and I’m going to tell you.

When you measure your accomplishments, look at WHERE YOU CAME FROM, AND WHERE YOU ARE NOW. The key here is don’t compare where others are, but just look at yourself. I know most writers know not to compare themselves, but I always do. Compared to when I first started, I’ve accomplished more than I thought I did. So from now, I’m going to make a list every month of what I’ve done. If you feel your writing isn’t getting anywhere, make a list of your accomplishments. Look at your list and let it fuel you to keep moving. After all, if a car doesn’t drive, then it will never reach its destination.

Here is my writing list of accomplishments. For this list, I’m going to include everything so far that I feel is important to me. These accomplishments have been throughout my writing journey online.

Wattpad:
– My old fanfictions reached over 1M reads on Wattpad.
– I won an award on Wattpad for one of my fanfictions.
– Clash of Tides was a finalist in an Under The Sea writing contest.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Wattpad Fantasy profile of high ranking stories.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Tales of the Deep Wattpad profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the New Adult Reads profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the Paranormal Wattpad profile.

WordPress:
– In less than a year, my WordPress blog reached over 1, 200 followers.
– My posts got reblogged on various writing advice sites.

Writing.com:
– Won one writing contest.
– Honorable mention in another contest.

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– I submitted my first submission for publication on the website.

When I look at this list, I don’t see someone who was ever a failure, I see a writer who was blinded by everything they accomplished. So to my readers and followers, thank you so much for supporting me. 

If you don’t mind, can you tell me what you have accomplished with your writing? I would love to read everyone’s list.

Useful Skills Writers Should Learn

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Did you like the meme? LOL, I don’t know how I came up with that – don’t ask.

Before we begin, I want to post what I’m working on. I know some of you have emailed me, and I promise to respond soon.

Here’s my to-do list:
– Finish beta reading for another blogger
– Finish reading (another blogger’s) story for a book review
– Respond to inquiries (WordPress inquires)

That way, those who contacted me know I’m making my way down the list. Oh, and I’m also working on my own writing projects. Speaking of which, I updated Clash of Tides. If you are willing to leave me feedback on chapter 20, I’ll unlock the chapter for you. Thanks!

So, today, I’m going to discuss useful skills that writers should learn. Of course, being a good writer is number one, but to sell our stories, we need more than just good writing skills.

Now, this post may not apply to you. It depends on what route you decide for your stories. Meaning, do you plan to self-publish or try for traditional publishing? Even if you don’t plan to publish anytime soon, there are still handy skills you (as a writer) should learn.

You’re probably thinking:

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I know, believe me, a writer’s life ain’t easy! When I first started writing, I thought I only needed to do the writing part.

In the past, I’ve mentioned marketing! Yes, dreaded, annoying, crappy, marketing! To get readers for our work, we need to market our stories. Sadly, marketing isn’t easy. That’s why people have degrees in it. Now, I’m not saying you have to get a college degree in marketing or even take a class, but you should have some idea how marketing works.

Yes, there is the basic, get people to buy stuff concept, but marketing goes deeper than that. When we market our stories, other factors come into play. For example, book covers, character designs, social networking – you get it.

To do a breakdown, here is the list of skills I feel writers should learn (if they want to):

Drawing – You may think this isn’t important, but being able to draw basic characters can save you money. I know drawing isn’t easy, but if you have an interest in it or have some semi-talent already, expand on that. Buy some basic how-to-draw books, take a class, or watch videos on YouTube. Many writers spend hundreds of dollars getting artwork of their characters done (I should know > <). If you can do it yourself, you can potentially save time and money. And believe me, I know a good character drawing isn’t easy to come by, but if you can expand on another talent you have, why not?

Graphic Design – To me, this skill is amazing for a writer to have. Want to know why? Because you can make your own book covers! Sure, they may not be professional quality, but when you are first starting out, having a basic cover design is essential to getting readers. Let’s face it, most, if not all story sharing sites require book covers now. Finding someone to make your cover can be expensive and overwhelming. However, thanks to the internet, you can download programs like Gimp for free and watch tutorials online. While Adobe Photoshop isn’t free, you can find free articles and videos on how to use it. The covers for my stories were made by a self-taught 22-year-old and a self-taught 24-year-old. Both of them just downloaded the programs one day and taught themselves. It may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. You can also use Graphic Design software to make quote teasers and added designs. Here are some visuals I’ve made for Clash of Tides:

(I didn’t do the artwork, but I manipulated the images using Gimp. The backgrounds are stock photos. I also stayed with my underwater theme. After all, it is a story about mermaids and mermen.)

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(This is my wallpaper…don’t judge…)

 

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If you are wondering, yes, I plan to get new Clash of Tides artwork done soon. ^__^

Marketing – Last, but not least, marketing. All writers, self-published or traditional, should know about marketing. I’ve heard writers who traditionally publish still have to do their own marketing. I don’t want to get too into this topic because I’ve touched on it before. But seriously, at least pickup Marketing For Dummies.

Editing – Good writers should know how to edit their own work. Of course, you should still get a professional editor, but the more editing you can do on your own, the less you have to spend on a professional. A handy book I’m reading right now is called, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King and Renni Browne. Check it out!

Remember, more knowledge can only help you, not hurt you =) Also, most readers LOVE visuals, as it helps bring them into the story. So, yes, visuals are key when marketing our work.

What other skills do you think writers should learn?

Writing Prompt Series: Disguise

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Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I did a writing prompt, so here it goes!

(If you are new to my blog, these prompts are for all readers and writers. If you would like to participate, please post your story in the comment section.) 

In 50 words, write a story about someone who wears a disguise and reveals what they really are.

Here is mine:

In the cover of night, her milk chocolate skinned changed. When darkness arrived, she was no longer human. Jewels covered her form, glowing from the moonlight reflecting off their surfaces. Humanity considered her just a black woman, but at night, she was the goddess of the stars, sky, and moon.

~ 50 Words

Happy Writing! Please post your story in the comment section, but only if you want to ^__^

Blog Tip Series: Responding to Comments

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Hey, everyone! Did anyone watch the game yesterday? I’m not a big Superbowl person, but the ending was so wild! It reminded me to never give up :3

Anyway, back on topic! Over the weekend, I reached a milestone on this blog I never expected. Thanks to all of you wonderful readers, I have 1,133 followers. That may not seem like much, but it’s huge to me! This blog is my first online accomplishment, so, I want to give back by sharing more blogging tips. =)

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Now since I’ve reached all my blogging goals, I want to focus on my writing goals. Don’t worry, I won’t be giving up my blog =)

Today, I want to talk about responding to comments. If you follow my blog, you know I mentioned this in the past, but I want to have a deeper discussion about responses.

When you think of your blog, what words come to mind? For me, I think of the word “Social.” After all, having a blog is part of social media. That tells me I need to converse on my blog. Now, I’m sure you are wondering why that is important. Well, it’s simple, really.

If you want to gain more followers for your blog, then interact with your readers. And when I say “interact,” I don’t mean responding to comments with “Thanks for reading.” I’m saying have an actual conversation with your readers. I won’t lie to you, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to see bloggers respond to long comments with “Thanks for reading.” If a reader takes the time to write a long, thoughtful comment on your post, then have the same decency. Showing you care about your readers goes a long way.

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Here are some tips on how I respond to readers:

  • Respond to every comment on your post. It may take a while, but it will show to your old and new readers you care.
  • Actually read the comment and respond accordingly. Don’t respond with a simple “Thanks for reading.”
  • Make time to respond. Finding time can be hard, so maybe take an hour every other day just for comments. (This is the technique I use)
  • Engage in conversation. Have a discussion in your comment section. If the reader responds to you, keep the conversation going (for as long as you can).
  • Visit the reader’s blog! Visit your readers’ blogs and comment on their posts.

Honestly, I have unfollowed bloggers who didn’t respond to their comments. I know it’s hard sometimes, but engagement is important. My blog wouldn’t have grown without it. So next time you get a comment, respond to the reader. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it :3

P.S. After jumping around to different writing websites, I feel the WordPress community is the best one to engage with.  And also, Clash of Tides will be finished by the end of February!! Super excited!

How do you handle comments on your blog?