Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: If you don’t want a blog, then don’t have one.

There are many out there who believe that they should have a blog because they are a writer seeking to be published. When used correctly, blogging can be a wonderful marketing tool; however, readers don’t want to read something on a blog that you halfheartedly put together. You should never blog just because others told you that you should. The only thing that will achieve is a sense of resentment and failure when you don’t meet your blogging objective. If you are blogging because you feel you need to as a writer, then you should really do some homework. There are plenty of successful writers out there who don’t have blogs, and there are plenty of nameless writers who have been blogging for years and still haven’t gotten anywhere.

Don’t blog because you think you have to; blog because you want to.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: There is no such thing as a perfect website.

Get used to the idea now. Just like your writing, not everyone is going to be happy with your website. There will always be those who find something to nit-pick about. If you try to create the perfect website, you’ll go insane. Accept it and move on.

That being said, do get another set of eyes to look at your website before you unleash it to the world. You may have chosen colors or fonts that you adore, but other might find the combination obtrusive and jarring. Some elements might disappear into the background, making them hard to read. You won’t know the truth about your chosen website design until you get feedback from others that you trust.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: A FREE website is a good option to start with.

If you’re not sure exactly what you want to achieve with your site, just start with a free one. There is nothing wrong with a free website. In the world of websites, free is not only attractive to the bank balance, but it’s actually a good starting place. Gone are the days when a free website looked cheap. There are a number of providers advertising free websites and all the tools you need to get your site up and operational quickly. They offer a variety of themes and are user-friendly. With a society that has come to love their internet-based communications, affordable, and user-friendly is a must.
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Hidden Traps - Now Available

Hidden Traps Blog Posts

Well, Hidden Traps was released earlier this week. In honor of the release, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the blog post that inspired the book. Or is that blog post inspired by the book? Whichever it is, check out some of these posts.

Recent Posts

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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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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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: ALL writers seeking publication need a website.

Reality check: ALL writers seeking publication, traditionally or self-published, need a website.

A website will be the first port of call for any potential reader. They  will go to your website to get the latest information about your various projects, both old and new. Yes, your social media will likely have information about the latest happenings. However, any older material will quickly be buried. Everything else that you do should point back to your website and the one, central hub where readers can get the most up-to-date information about your work.
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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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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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