Headaches of Domain Transfers… What was I thinking?

Those who have been following my personal blog, my Twitter, or this blog will know that I have been working on moving my sites to a self-hosting provider. For the past two years, my sites (personal and business) have been hosted by WordPress.com. It was a brilliant place to start: easy to use and cheap (i.e. free for the site with the option of adding a custom domain for little financial outlay). For someone just starting out and building that on-line platform, I honestly can’t think of a better place get that momentum going. But for financial business reasons, shifting to a self-hosted site was important.

Let’s face it… I was paying $60 USD per year for a single email address for Black Wolf Editorial. This was on top of the $26 USD per domain that I was paying for the domain registrations itself. (Before anyone says something about the cost of that, it’s $18 USD for the domain registration through WordPress.com and an additional $8 USD for privacy. Sorry guys, but I don’t want my home address plastered across the internet for all to see — or my phone number, private email, etc. This is all stuff that is required with registration of domains.)Read More

Billy said… Diana said…

When I critique and edit writing, there is one common flaw that comes through time and time again. Sometimes, it’s subtle and easily overlooked. But then there are times when it hits you in the face.

I’m talking about he said — she said.

So here’s the deal. You’re writing a scene with dialogue. The characters are talking at such a pace that your writer’s brain is struggling to keep up. But you’re writing that dialogue as fast as you can.

“What’s for dinner?” Billy asked.
“Chicken,” Diana answered.
“But I don’t like chicken,” Billy said.
“Tough, that’s what we’re having,” Diana snarled.

It’s so easy to do. You’re in the rhythm of writing the scene. You don’t have time to stop and think about the nitty-gritty. You just want to write that elusive scene. You’ll worry about the he said — she said when you come to edit. But in the editing phase, I quite often see something like this:

Billy sat at the table for the dinner that Diana cooked.
“What’s for dinner?”
“Chicken.”
“But I don’t like chicken.”
“Touch, that’s what we’re having.”

Umm… No… This is even worse than the dreaded he said — she said, simply because I have no real clue as to who is talking when. Okay, I can probably put two and two together and work out that Billy is the one asking what is for dinner, but I could be wrong. No, there needs to be some sort of tagging to clarify this. When I mention this to clients, I often see the next revision with something like this:

Billy sat at the table for the dinner that Diana cooked.
“What’s for dinner?” Billy asked.
“Chicken,” Diana answered.
“But I don’t like chicken.”
“Tough, that’s what we’re having,” Diana snarled.

However, the scene is flat. It’s missing something. To put it blunt, it’s missing all the action. I’m unable to build the scene in my mind. I often see large sections of dialogue with little to no tagging at all. While it is avoiding the he said — she said issue, it gives me no context and sometimes I have no idea as to who is talking when.

Billy slumped into the chair. “What’s for dinner?”
“Chicken.” Diana grinned as she placed the carefully carved bird in the center of the table.
“But I don’t like chicken.”
“Touch, that’s what we’re having.”

Okay, it’s not the most brilliant piece of dialogue, but the point is you know right away what the setting is and who the characters are in the scene. And even better, because of the action tags used in the first two lines, there was no need for any tagging at all for the next two. As a reader, you already know who was talking when. And all of this without using a he said.

In any passage of dialogue between two characters, the dreaded he said — she said can easily be avoided.  Use action to help, and it can be simple action. Imagine a coffee shop scene. There’s not much action that is going to happen here, unless a car comes careening off the road and right through the front window. No, here you have two characters talking about the latest movie over a latte.

Billy dumped in a packet of sugar into his cup. “I don’t know how you managed to talk me into going to see that movie.” He grabbed another packet, then another, and another.
“Geez, why don’t you have some coffee with your sugar?” Diana took a sip of her own cup, wincing at the burning sensation on her tongue. “You came because of all the naked girls.”

I’m sure I could carry on for a whole scene, banter between Billy and Diana about the trashy film they saw, but I think you’re starting to see the idea.

There are some that will hear all of this as “don’t use the word said,” so they will mask the problem behind the usage of other dialogue tags.

“Jimmy,” she whispered, “tell me again.”
“Tell you what?” he asked, affection in his voice.
“Please don’t try to be coy,” she breathed in his ear. “You know exactly what I mean.”
He smiled. “I love you,” he cooed.

Not once is the word said actually used, but it still is a he said — she said fest.

I’m not saying that you should never use dialogue tags, the word said is in the dictionary, so it was meant to be used, but when it’s every single line of dialogue… And for those that go the other way and don’t tag at all… Who is talking and when? Like all things, dialogue tagging needs to be handled with moderation. Don’t be afraid to use it, but don’t use it all the time.

But what about those scenes where you have more than one character talking, with dialogue whizzing around the table. In these situations, it is difficult to avoid some sort of tagging, but you can still avoid the he said — she said fest by incorporating action.

Derek stared at the two on the couch. “What the…”
Melissa shot to her feet, unraveling herself from Jimmy’s arms. “I can explain.”
“No need. The engagement’s off.  He can have you.”
“Engagement?” Jimmy looked between Melissa and Derek, horror written across his face.
“Where’s the ring?” Derek demanded. “It belonged to my mother and I want it back.”
Melissa reached down to the jeans on the floor and pulled a gold ring from her pocket. “Can’t we talk about this?”
Derek glanced down the length of her half-naked body, then peered at Jimmy. “There’s nothing to talk about, Mel. It’s over.”

Again, not the best passage ever, but in that passage there was only one explicit dialogue tag, and three people in the scene all talking. Even better, you knew the full context of the story and who is talking when.

There are many views about how to write good dialogue. There will be one theme in common between all of them: use dialogue tags sparingly, but don’t forget to pepper in the action.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Books and Glasses

Fiction is NOT a Genre…

Recently, I was skimming through a fellow editor’s website (who shall remain nameless) and encountered a page where people were listing the titles of their manuscripts and their respective genres. OMG, the number of people that listed their genre as FICTION…

People, FICTION is NOT a genre. It tells us nothing about your story, except for the fact that it’s made up. And it’s not good enough to tell us the you write Young Adult or Middle-Grade either. All this tells us is who your target audience is.  Let’s face it, a science fiction story is very different to a western. (However, you could have a Western SciFi — Firefly is the perfect example of this sub-genre.) A Young Adult SciFi and a Middle-Grade SciFi, on the other hand, will contain similar elements, all related to the SciFi genre.

In my post Young Adult: A Category or a Genre?, I discussed the differences between Middle-Grade, Young Adult, New Adult and Adult, pointing out how these terms relate only to your target audience age bracket. However, it has become obvious to me that there seems to be even more confusion about this beast known as Genre.

According to Merriam-Webster, a genre is a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content. I suppose one can successfully argue that fiction is a genre, because the content is made up, but it still tells me nothing about your story — it gives me no clue as to whether I might actually be interested in reading it. It gives no indication of what section in the bookstore that it will likely be shelved.

The main genres of fictional literature are as follows:

  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Mystery / Crime
  • Horror
  • Suspense/Thriller
  • Historical (i.e. Western, Edwardian, Medieval, etc.)

Each of these genres has a list of sub-genres and cross-overs that can seriously do the head in just thinking about it. Below is just a few of the sub-genres.

Romance

The main plot of a romance novel focuses on the romantic relationship between the hero and the heroine. The story must finish in a positive and optimistic way, or it can’t be classified a romance. (Romantic stories with a tragic ending are classified Woman’s Fiction.) There are so many sub-genres of romance that I’ve lost count, but here are just a few.

  • Contemporary romance involves any romance that takes place after World War II. However, contemporary settings are more commonly of the modern technological era.
  • Historical romance is a broad category as the historical period can be in any era, ranging from ancient societies through to the 19th century.
  • Romantic suspense is a romantic story that contains elements of mystery. Typically, the heroine is the victim of a crime, and works with the hero to solve the case and bring the real villain to justice.
  • Paranormal romance is a blend of fantasy and romance. Typically elements such as vampires, werewolves or the like are woven into the story.
Fantasy

Fantasy uses magical or other supernatural elements as a main plot element within the story. Many fantasy stories are set in imaginary worlds, but they don’t always have witches, elves, or magical rings. Again, there are many different flavors of fantasy that one can easily get confused.

  • Urban fantasy stories are traditionally set in a contemporary setting, most commonly within a city, but involve elements such as witches, vampires or werewolves. Any supernatural creature in your modern-day story, and you’re looking at this sub-genre. Contemporary fantasy includes stories that are outside of the city.
  • High fantasy (sometimes called epic fantasy) is where the stories are set in a “secondary” world, that may have elements that resemble our own, but for the most part is very different. High fantasy stories commonly involve elves, goblins, dwarfs, demons and other such like creatures.
  • Mystical realism will be a story set in the “real” world, however a small element will contain some magical quality. The magical element within this sub-genre will be subtle.
  • Fairytale retellings are just that. They draw on fairytale elements, twisting them to suit the story.
Science Fiction

As the name suggests, science fiction will contain scientific elements within its main plot. One can be talking about space travel, or virtual reality, or even just internet monsters who goggle up all the data on your computer. There is no need for science fiction to be filled with massive equations or big terms that no one understands, but the science background must be evident.

  • Dystopian is traditionally a post-apocalypse setting, where the characters are trying to build the world again. The science may be soft or hard, and in some dystopian stories, magic will play a role, bringing in the fantasy elements.
  • Steampunk examines worlds where the machines, architecture and clothing designs are based off of the 19-century industrial revolution.
  • Space opera outlines the epic dramatic space stories, often involving many fire fights between ships. (Star Trek and Star Wars are classic space operas.)
  • Time travel novels typically span across multiple time periods, where the main character is travelling through time, just as the name suggests.
  • Near-future science fiction will be all of the stories that talk about internet crimes, virtual reality, hover cars and the like. It will be based on all the technologies that are just around the corner.

Trying to keep track of all the sub-genres I think would give anyone a headache. The trick is to know which of the main genre categories your writing belongs to, and then get your head around the sub-genres of just that category.

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

To UK English or US English? Or to some other flavour of the beast?

Those who live outside of the USA are very familiar with the concept that there are multiple different dictionaries used for English, all depending on what version of English you are using. You heard that right, folks. There is another way to spell those favourite words.

And that was one right there: favourite. That’s how those using UK English spell it. Yanks spell it without the ‘u’: favorite.

Those working in UK English are conversant in the idea that we add ‘u’s to some words, we have double-consonants in others, and we use an ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’ for words like analyse and maximise. There is a whole rafter of words that are spelt differently between US English and UK English. And it’s not just the spelling that would drive a person to madness. There’s the terminology, the punctuation conventions, even the argument about collective nouns. Thankfully, some poor sap has written a whole article on the subject on Wikipedia, complete with a tonne of links to other pages.

But why should one even bother with the differences between US and UK English?

I live in New Zealand. My children are growing up with “New Zealand” English. “What on Earth is New Zealand (NZ) English?” I hear some say. Well, for the most part NZ English is British (UK) English, however, because of the saturation from US television and movies, common terms from the US are leaking into our vernacular. Dare I say it, so are some of the spellings. It frustrates me to no end: to know that I have two different versions of the same word in my document and to know that the NZ English spellchecker is accepting both versions. It’s just wrong. So out of principle, I refuse to use NZ English when writing. I will gladly use the slang or colloquial terms, but not a NZ English dictionary. I use either a UK or US English dictionary.

And I refuse to use Australian English too. According to the Australian government, dialogue should be punctuated as the following [1]:

‘Yes, that is the situation’, she replied.
The ambassador declared, ‘Not all that we say can have prior approval’.

While I can accept the usage of the single-quote marks around the speech, I will never accept that the comma or the fullstop belongs on the outside of the quotation marks. I don’t care if you use UK or US English, but that is just plain wrong. And to think that this is what the Australian government has published as the correct way of doing things in their own editing style guide. (I think I’ll just hang my head in dismay.)

So NZ English is out because the spellcheckers are known to accept both UK and US spellings of the same word, and Australian English is out because even their own government doesn’t know how to use punctuation correctly. But what about the others?

Well, I haven’t had much experience with Canadian English and I didn’t even know that Indian English existed until I started writing this post. Let’s just stick to either UK or US English for our common usage.

So as a writer, which should you actually use?

For first drafts and the first round of edits, it’s always best to use whatever you’re the most comfortable in. In other words, if you grew up with US English, then use it. If you grew up with UK English (or some derivation there of), use it. If you’re like me and grew up with both (I was born in the US and move to New Zealand as a teenager), then set your computer dictionary to one or the other and use it.

When you are looking at your middle round of edits, getting into the nitty-gritty of the language, that’s when you need to take a serious look as to whether this manuscript that you’re writing belongs in UK or US English.

Where is your primary market? Who is your target audience? Where do you intend to publish it? If the answer to any of these questions is US-related, then you should seriously considering translating that UK English manuscript into US English. If the answers are outside of the US, then UK English should be your beast of choice.

At the end of the day, just remember that if you publish in UK English, you might get those from the US saying that you don’t know how to use a spellchecker. It’s a sad truth, but many Americans forget that English originated in the UK.

References:

[1] Style manual for authors, editors and printers. (2002) Sixth Ed. John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. pp 111 – 116.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Make Goals Public and Real

Recently, I have had some of my writing buddies getting all depressed because they had set themselves some goals for last year that they failed to achieve. The Little Miss Optimist in me is forced to come in and reminded them of all the things they have achieve instead. It’s that silver-lining view, but so many forget to use it.

Sometimes it’s a knock back to see that massive goal that you had set yourself come crumbling down around your ears. However, that goal was set for a reason. Without it, you wouldn’t spend the time necessary to turn that goal into a reality. And sometimes, you might have actually achieved your goal, but just not in the way you had expected.

I’ll use my own goal from 2015 as an example. At the start of 2015, I had publicly told all my friends and family that by the end of the year I was going to have a publication plan for my fantasy novel. I even posted it on my Facebook. At the time when I posted it, I had meant that I was going to find an agent and have a publishing contract, knowing that it took months from the point of signing that publishing contract before you saw the book on the shelves. However, I said “have a publication plan.” What I didn’t realise was that I actually had completed that goal the moment I posted it on Facebook, and it took me an entire year, and some, to figure that out. I have a publication plan for my novel: find an agent and get a publishing contract. It may not have been exactly what I had intended when I first set that goal, but it is still the goal achieved. Silver-lining view.

Always keep that big dream in mind, but make your goals the stepping stones toward that big dream.

More often than not, those big dreams are life-time ambitions and can’t be achieved in a single day, or a single year. However, there will be small steps along the way that will be necessary to make that big dream become a reality. Make these your goals.

For me, my big dream is to publish not just one book, but many books. So my goals for the past so many years have been about completing that draft, finish that edit, send out that query. But this works for more than just writing. One of my personal goals involves weight-loss. So toward that end, I’ve found a public fun-run that I want to take part in during October and am working hard to get my fitness up so I can do it. It’s all about cutting that giant horse-pill into smaller pieces easier to swallow.

Whatever your goals are, make them public.

Making goals public will do several things:

  1. It will force you to phrase your goals in such a way that you feel that you can actually achieve them.
    • It’s the stepping-stone approach. “Small steps for man.” We may have big dreams, but more often than not, we’re afraid that people might laugh at our big dreams, so we’ll test the waters with something smaller. Achieving those small goals is an accomplishment too.
  2. It will hold you accountable.
    • After I had posted my 2015 goals on Facebook, I felt this sense of obligation to do my best to make things happen. While I achieved only half of my list, I actually achieved so many others things that weren’t on the list too, including starting up my own editorial business, something that I never thought I would do.
  3. It will give you a secret support network.
    • People, in general, want to see their friends succeed. They’re even happy to cheer on complete strangers toward achieving their goals. Having that added cheer section does help fuel your ambition.
  4. It will give you bragging rights when you actually achieve your goals, listed and not listed ones.
    • Let’s face it, we humans are prideful creatures. We like to feel rewarded for our efforts. Sometimes, all the reward we want is a simple thank-you, and other times we’re after something more. Anyone who says that they don’t get a buzz after achieving something… They’re lying. Either that, or they’re not human.
My Own Goals for 2016

I have already publicly announced by goals for 2016 on my Facebook page. However, I’ve decided to reiterate them here, just so there is a true public record that I can easily find at the end of the year when I go back and see how far I’ve come. However, I’ve had to modify them, because as I was writing this post, I noticed that some of them have already been achieved, just not in the way that I had expected when I wrote them.

  1. Finish the final lot of edit on my fantasy novel and start querying again.
  2. Get in place a publication plan for my first novel. This includes snagging myself an agent. (With the way this is actually worded, I’ve already achieved this. I have a publication plan, and it does include snagging myself an agent. Doh!!! Not quite what I had meant.
  3. Finish the first draft of the first novel in my collaborative writing project (an upper middle-grade, military science-fiction with my good writing buddy, Ann Bell Feinstein) so the long tedious process of editing can begin.
  4. Get the word out about Black Wolf Editorial Services and obtain more clients.
  5. Obtain more inspirational art by Andrei Kope.
  6. Finish the first draft of my second high-fantasy novel. (Possibly the third and fourth too, seeing as they are mostly written anyway.)

I’m sure there’s something missing off that list, but even so, there’s a significant amount of work in that list. 2016… Bring it on.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ below. You can read other posts like it here.

© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

The Cry of the Words (Flash Fiction)

This little piece of flash fiction is the perfect description on editing. All writers feel the struggle of the editing beast. It was great to see that struggle put into a written form.

The work was published here by permission from Ann Bell Feinstein.

The Cry of the Words

The words on the page cried out, each demanding to stay. None wanted to be deleted or changed in anyway. That was not what was going to happen. Changes were coming.

A deft hand was required to cut only the fluff, the tough stuff had to remain. It was the heart of the story.

To show or tell, she had to decide. There was no need to show a blank countryside. The tale was shown, a few bits told, since everything need not be detailed.

The words were hers and she would force them to paint the scene in her head.

She carved and worked each line of words until she found nothing to change. Her eyes tired and the words speaking clearly, it was time to sleep and dream of more words yet unwritten.


You can learn more about Ann’s various personal projects at http://annbellfeinstein.com

Social Media: The Dangers that Writers Never had to Think About Before

In a recent post on my personal blog, I made note of the changes that our world has seen in terms of work philosophies. However, in that post I commented about how social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, has transformed our world into something that no longer resembles the world that I grew up in. Systems such as Skype and Google Hangouts have bridged the gap between continents so that those on opposite sides of the world can do more than just talk to one another over the phone — they can now see each other, have a face-to-face conversation. It was something that was proposed in science fiction, but society as a whole never believed that such a thing could be possible. When I was a child, it wasn’t.

This new world of ours is filled with so many dangers that no one has really had to think about until now. As a mother of two teenagers, it’s my responsibility to teach my children to navigate the treacherous waters ahead of them. But how can I teach them to swim safely through the world of social media and the Internet when I’m still learning myself?

As a writer and freelance editor, I must maintain a public profile — this blog is part of that. However, we all like to have a certain amount of privacy. In the past, writers could easily make the division between the private and public, but with the industry’s expectation that writers have a public presence prior to publication, we writers must handle this with care.

For some writers, the separation of the private and public is achieved through a pseudonym, a pen name. For myself, I have chosen to publish under my real name. Before starting down this journey into being a full-time writer and freelance editor, I was a published research scientist. I’m proud of my scientific publications. Why would I want to hide these achievements by using another name? But what impacts does this have on my public presence?

For things such as Twitter, Google+ and the blog, I’m fortunate. I never used these things privately. My Twitter account was started when I realised that agents and publishers frequently communicated their wishlists through Twitter, among other things. The blog was started as part of my writer’s website — a journal of my personal journey toward becoming a published author. Google+… Well, that came with the email address that I set up for this whole adventure.

For me, Facebook was where the biggest danger existed. I have had a Facebook account for many, many years, started before my daughter was born. With my husband having family in the Netherlands, my family being in the USA, and close friends located in throughout New Zealand and Australia, Facebook became the perfect medium for sharing those cherished photos of our children as they grew up. Now, I have a public writer’s page, but with the decision to publish under my real name, it meant that my public page and my private account had similar names. While this in itself is not a bad thing, I can guarantee it would eventually drive me mental with the number of “friend requests” that one could potentially receive. Let’s face it, this is why writers set up a public page in the first place. I’m only just starting within the industry and already the number of “friend requests” is getting to me. However, I have an unwritten rule that I follow religiously: if I don’t know you personally, or I can’t trace exactly how we might be related, I won’t accept your friend request. It’s photos of my children on my Facebook. While I do share some of those photos on my blog, I’d like to respect my children’s privacy.

I hold no delusions of grandeur, but cyber-stalking is a real thing and can be very dangerous. It’s true that if someone really wants to hack into the systems, they can obtain any information that they might want about me — my home address, my phone number, even my bank account number if they were that desperate — but why should I make it easy for the Average Joe? So, off I go, and I recently changed the name used on my personal Facebook account to my married name. It’s not like I’m hiding anything, the photos on both my private and public pages are still me and not some strange image that you wonder where it came from. I will likely still have “friend requests” from those who I don’t know from a bar of soap, but at least the average fan will get the hint: private means private.

However, there are some other pitfalls that the unsuspecting writer can fall into, leaking information that they didn’t want to without even realising. This brings me to the purpose behind this post: highlighting the pitfalls of social media so all who want a separation between the private and public can avoid them.

FACEBOOK

As mentioned above, there is always an issue with having a public page under a similar name to your private profile. Solution: change your private profile, but also ensure that you change the “username” too. This is the name that gets attached to the web address of your private profile. You can find this setting under “General Account Settings”. However, once your change your private profile name and username, you will be faced with another issue with Facebook. Only private profiles can join groups. If you’re like me, you’re a member of quite a few groups, some are for writing and others aren’t. It comes down to what is a public group, a closed group, or for secret squirrels only. You will need to chose what you’re happy to have your private profile publicly associate with and what you’re not.

For me, if it’s writing related and it’s public… No go.

On the plus side, for other public pages, you get to chose which profile you use to comment with: your private profile or public persona.

Be careful about what other information you enter into the system. With the introduction of smart-phones, mobile numbers on profiles has become the norm; cellphone are used as the method of recovery if one forgets their password. However, for public pages, it is a personal choice as to whether your contact numbers and email are listed. Make that choice wisely.

Something else that unsuspecting users of Facebook should be aware of: a visitor to your page doesn’t need to “LIKE” your page to read it. They need to “LIKE” the page to comment only. However, you can lock down the page such that you as the page manager are the only one who can post and/or comment, or a middle ground. On my own author’s page, I’m the only one who can post new material, but comments are open to the public. Do keep in mind that if you feel that a comment is inappropriate, as the page manager, you do have the ability to delete the comments.

GOOGLE+

So many of us now have Google accounts. If you have Gmail, then you have a Google account. When you create one of these, it asks for a cellphone numbers for recovery verification and an alternative email address. Now here’s the thing. When you connect in your Google+, which you have to do separately, some of this information can leak across, as can some of your contacts’ information in your address book. What you need to do is view the profile as the public would to ensure that what is listed is correct and private information hasn’t leaked across. To do this, go to the “View Profile as” dropdown menu and select the “Public” option. Make any changes necessary to your profile to remove anything that you don’t want the public to see.

GRAVATAR

If you have a WordPress website, then you will likely have one of these accounts. It is also used by a variety number of other sites, including news sites, and hence you need to be extremely careful as to what information you load into your profile on this site. Just because it looks all good from the WordPress end, there might be something that you have added that came from some other site. The issue here is that just editing your profile will not necessarily edit your Gravatar.

To view your Gravatar profile, you need to visit gravatar.com/USERNAME/, where USERNAME is your WordPress user ID.

From here, you can see exactly what is connected to your Gravatar profile. Be warned now, connecting Facebook to your Gravatar will connect your private profile, not your public page. If you want to link your public Facebook page, then you will need to add this as a separate website.

TWITTER

Everything that you post on Twitter is public, unless you have marked your profile as “private”, which defeats the purpose. So be careful about what information you put out on Twitter. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.

OTHER SYSTEMS

All other systems — Instagram, Pintrist, Tumbler, etc — all have their flaws with their profiles. If in doubt, get a friend that you know and trust to check over everything you have and point out anything that they see. Just a general safety thing: make sure that any photos you post on any social media don’t show your house number or license plate number. This is information that the general public just doesn’t need.

One golden rule with any social media: it doesn’t matter how “private” something professes to be, there will always be loopholes in the system and some information will get leaked. NEVER put anything on any form of social media, public or private, that you wouldn’t be comfortable with if it was ever leaked. Trust me, if you ever make it big, there will be people out there looking for dirt, and they will find it. Don’t make it easy for them.

And for those paranoid about hackers… Some social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer a 2-tier login system. Basically, you login with your password, then you get sent a text on your cellphone with a code that you need to enter too. I don’t use these myself, I’m not that paranoid, but I also don’t post things that I wouldn’t be comfortable if it was ever made public. If people really want to see the nude photo of my son when he was a baby… Whatever.

Regardless, as long as you are aware of the dangers associated with social media, then things like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to build a fan-base for any writer.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2015