Tag Archives: Hudson Library

Putting the social back in ‘social media’

“There’s a big difference between your number of followers and your number of engaged followers.”

–Jennifer Wills (@WillsWork4Books) at a presentation about social media at Hudson Library (@HudsonLibr)

The other day I attended another free writers’ workshop at the Hudson Library in Hudson, OH. I’m going to get to the meat of it in a minute here (though you can probably guess where I’m going based on the quote above), but I want to first take a minute to plug the Hudson Library. The amount of free resources they provide to the local writing community is crazy amazing. Thank you, Hudson Library!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

The workshop, presented by Jennifer Wills (whom you’ll remember from a couple of my SCBWI conference posts), was about improving your social media platform. With advice from “Google yourself and do damage control,” to “yes, you really ought to have an author website,” her talk ran the gamut of social media topics. She is an engaging and fun speaker, and I learned plenty, even about pieces of advice I’d heard before.

One of my favorite points, quoted above, was that, no matter what platform(s) you choose to spend your time on, the amount you spend engaging with other people is way more important than the amount you spend promoting your own work. That is to say, if you are constantly tweeting “buy my book” without engaging the community, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. On the flip side, if you engage and build a following, it won’t take too many “buy my book” tweets to get people moving.

A few handy social media tips to build a stronger audience:

  1. Do something (pick a social media, any social media; and yes, in this day of authors needing to also market themselves, you have to do something on social media)
  2. Do it consistently (both in terms of following your brand and in terms of posting regularly)
  3. Engage! (don’t just push your own content, but talk about other things you’re interested in, converse with followers, like and share other people’s stuff, etc)

If you build an engaged audience, then no matter how you publish you’ll be more likely to sell books.

Happy “socializing”!

Photo of hands and tablet by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

The beauty of ideas

I attended another lovely workshop at the Hudson Library (@HudsonLibr) this week in their “Writing to Publish” series. This one was veteran children’s author Tricia Springstubb (@Springstubb), who had great stories to tell, and plenty of advice to dish out.

I’ll write up a full report on what I learned soon, but I wanted to share one gem of a quote that Ms. Springstubb gave early on in her presentation. The poetry of these words struck me, and now I will think of pebbles every time I have a new idea:

Ideas are pebbles to polish, kernels to pop, sparks to fan.
— Tricia Springstubb

She said that, of course, some pebbles aren’t worth polishing, but when you find one that is, it’s a beautiful transformation. So here’s to a handful of pebbles, with at least a few worth polishing!

Happy writing!

P.S. Thanks to Tricia Springstubb and the Hudson Library for this wonderful, inspiring event.

Photo of flower in stones by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo of hands with stones by Creative Vix on Stocksnap.io

Writer, edit thyself

I just attended a workshop at the library on the subject of self-editing your novel with Jennifer Sawyer Fisher of JSF Editorial. She gave us a good deal of great information, and plenty of examples to help drive the points home.

In no particular order, here are a few of my takeaways:

  1. I might have to cut back on the subplots
  2. Trying to push through and edit a full-length novel all in one sitting would be as silly as trying to write the thing all in one sitting.
  3. Writing and editing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Okay, I made this one up. But it’s still the basic gist of what she said.
  4. One day, when I write a murder mystery, the rule of thumb is a death in the first three chapters. Don’t need this now, but I’m just filing away the info for later.
  5. Hiring a good editor is worth every penny. Though Ms. Fisher didn’t specifically say this, I think it was implied. And probably very true.
  6. This I’ve heard before, but it bears repeating:  just because there are super-long books on the bookstore shelves doesn’t mean a first time author is going to get a super-long book published. Cut the fluff.
  7. When it comes to accepting or rejecting an editor’s, agent’s, or publisher’s suggestions for your book, go with your gut.
  8. Also not news, but worth repeating: action verbs, action verbs, action verbs.
  9. I need to stop using the same word so many times in a single sentence/paragraph (for example, I just edited a second word “session” out of my sentence below and replaced it with “workshop”).
  10. Full page paragraphs are a big no-no.

It was an inspiring session. Thanks to Ms. Fisher and everyone at the Hudson Library and Historical Society who made the workshop possible!

Happy editing!

Have you received a great piece of writing or editing advice lately? Please share in the comments.

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash