The Dangers of Photos and GPS on Social Media

Put your hand up if you have found yourself becoming a shutter-bug. Be honest.

With the latest phones, many of us now have a high-resolution camera sitting in our back pockets (or in my case, the outside pocket of my purse). So, it’s not surprising that people have become trigger happy with their phone cameras. Add in the fact that smartphones have easy access to the internet, and those photos are now being showcased for the world to see.

Before you hit the share button, you might want to take a good look at that photo.Read More

A Website and Blog are NOT the same thing.

There are many out there who will use the terms website and blog interchangeably. The difference between the two is not as clear as one might think. It probably doesn’t help that many blogs are hosted on personal websites. However, there is a BIG difference between a website and a blog, although the line is a little fuzzy.

A website is your internet home, containing information about yourself and your various projects. The pages are static, occasionally updated to reflect changes. It will contain the most up-to-date information about your work, assuming that you actually keep it up to date.

A blog, on the other hand, is like a diary. It will be constantly changing with whatever content or other information you choose to share with the world. In some respects, a blog will contain even more up-to-date information about your work. However, the information on a blog quickly gets buried, depending on the frequency at which you post. This means that you can’t rely on your blog as a marketing tool for older works.

If a reader visits your site, they want to be able to find your books, products, or whatever quickly — and with little effort. This is the key point that distinguishes a website from a blog.

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Hidden Traps - Pre-order Now

Hidden Traps is now available to pre-orders.

The road to publication is a long one, and as my faithful readers will know, there are no shortcuts. Publication requires countless hours of editing, development, and, in many cases, tears. Then you have all the public aspects of the process: social media, websites, conferences, and the list goes on.

The whole process can be incredibly overwhelming. To make matters worse, the real, solid advice about what it is we really face is scarce. So many of us hear about this beast known as a writer's platform, but it seems to be covered in this shroud of secrecy. As a consequence, many writers are prone to fall into one of the many hidden traps out there, learning lessons the hard way.

It's incredibly cruel of an industry to leave those new to it to flounder their way through life.

For the past six month, I have been writing, and editing, a book that I feel ALL writers could benefit from, looking at the various hidden traps associated with an online platform. I'm please to announce that the book is now available for pre-orders through a variety of retailers.

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What is a Platform?

The whole concept of building a following can be overwhelming at times, and there really isn’t much solid advice out there. However, a writer’s platform is not the complicated concept that many turn it into.

A writer’s platform is NOT marketing, promotion, or publicity. It’s not just a website or social media — for that matter, it’s not just your books. A writer’s platform is everything that you do to connect with readers.

It’s your local writers’ group that you attend once a month, or more frequently, as the case may be. It’s those conferences and book festivals that you save your pennies for so you can afford the registration. It’s your participation in special events that have nothing to do with writing and your books.

Yes, a writer’s platform includes your books, website, and social medial, and yes, this online component in today’s market is important, but it’s not everything.

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When is writing classified as published?

The publishing industry has changed in a big way, thanks to the Internet, social media and self-publishing. While some aspects have opened doors to so many writers who would have struggled in a big way to become a published author, there are some aspects that have actually closed the doors to traditional publication paths.

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the self-publication path. There are some brilliant novels that have been self-published and some extremely successful writers that have taken that particular road. As long as you’re prepare to put in the hard work, self-publication can be a rewarding experience.

Regardless of whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will need to get your head around marketing within today’s industry. It really is a self-promotion game, hence, one of the reasons that many have turned to self-publication. You put in all that effort and energy. You should reap the benefits.

However, there might be other reasons that you have your heart set on the traditional publication path. Perhaps there is a particular publishing house that you have dreamed of for as long as you can remember. Maybe your local bookstores refuse to consider stocking books that are self-published. Maybe there’s another reason altogether. Regardless of what your reasons might be, if you are heading down the road toward traditional publication, you need to be strategic in your release of sample writing. If you release the wrong bit in the wrong location, you may have inadvertently published your work without realizing it, killing your chances at traditional publication.

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Facebook apps that access your Friends list are dangerous.

Originally, I had planned to post an entirely different post for this week, but a recent trend on Facebook has given me cause for great concern. I cannot remain silent knowing that there are so many out there putting themselves and their Friends at risk.

I’m talking about the growing trend in Facebook apps that access your Friends list. Some of these are appear to be harmless, listing who might be your partners in crime. However, there is a new app that is making the rounds. This particular app goes through your Friends list and their activities, and ranks your Friends in the order of those who have visited your profile the most. It might seem innocent on the surface, but in reality, it’s a violation of your Friends’  rights.

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Social Media

Hidden Private Messages on Facebook

Most users of Facebook are very much aware that the site developers are constantly changing things to improve the end-user experience. However, sometimes the changes mean that things go missing or unseen.

One of the changes means that random users can send you private messages (PM), even those who are not listed on your Friends list, however, you don’t necessarily receive them. How many times has someone said they sent you a PM and you have spent hours digging through your old messages trying to find the elusive message but to no avail? How many of those message requests has Facebook filtered such that you don’t see them?

Well, here’s how you can access your missing Facebook PMs.

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Bios: One Size Won’t Fit Me

While writers are often into their own worlds of fire-breathing dragons or sexual encounters with that dark knight, there is one topic that many writers struggle to write about: themselves. It's ironic... Here we are, words flow easily on the page when discussing some fictional character, but writing about the one person that we know the best... You have got to be kidding.

However, writing a bio is not something that a writer should shy away from. There are so many ways to spinning what might seem like a boring hum-drum life and making it sound glamorous. We're writers. We can do this, right?

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High School English: It’s Now Social Media

Things have changed so much since I was in high school. I distinctively remember being incredibly bored during English classes and challenging the teacher when she insisted that a particular Shakespearean passage was intended to reflect some ideology.

"How do you know? Did you know Shakespeare personally?"

Yeah, I was always a little too forthright for my own good.

However, in seeing what my teenage son now faces, I have found myself in a unique position to help him and other teenagers who might be in a similar position.

I don't normally write about personal things on this blog, but if you'll just bear with me for a moment, everything will become clear.

My 15-year-old son has just started NZQA Level 1. As one of his courses, he has elected to take English with Media. Gone are the days of analysing that Shakespearean text. Instead, they assess how various forms of media has influenced our written and spoken language. I must admit that I probably would have found English in high school much more interesting if I was watching movies and TV and listening to radio. But in today's world, media also includes the Internet.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Twitter, but mainly Don’ts…

Those who have heard me talk about social media and writer's platforms will know that I highly recommend using Twitter. And those who follow me on Twitter will have seen at least one of my rants about the Don'ts of Twitter. They are instant turnoffs and will likely result in me glancing over your profile and moving right along.

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