Monday, October 31, 2016

3 Ways a Shy Writer Can Boost Social Media Presence

Do you enjoy using social media? 

Those close to me know I'm a reluctant social media participant. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy meeting new people and interacting with family and friends. There are great benefits, from blogging and Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and more, I've connected and shared with  people all over the globe.

Social media is an excellent marketing tool, one that's necessary for freelancing, writing books, business, and all things related. There are dozens of potential benefits, many of which I've tapped into.

So despite these great benefits, why am I still not a big fan? The two main issues I have are:

The constant perceived demand on one's time. We've become a society, as a whole, that thinks everyone should be available 24/7. This translates into pressure for many people. And while it's our choice to partake, the draw and demand are still there. It takes personal discipline and sometimes a steel will to avoid getting drawn in, buckling under the pressure, and spending too much time meeting the demands, whether real or perceived. 

The "TMI - ATT" syndrome. Too Much Information - All. The. Time. While not everyone is prone to sharing too much personal info, social media offers the perfect forum to do so. Call me old fashioned, but I think that there are details of one's life that aren't meant to be spread about everywhere. Some conversations are best left one to one, with family or a close friend. In many ways, I think this hinders a quality social media experience.

If you are a big proponent of social media, please don't be offended by my thoughts here. That's not my intent. I value and understand the benefits. I realize that some people are more wired for social media than I am. They're outgoing; they enjoy and often need that interaction with others. I get that, and mean no disrespect to those who feel that way.

So this is where I'm coming from - I'm a shy writer who's never been a social butterfly, ever. One who's happier with her nose in a book than at a party of a thousand of her closest friends. My conscientious self wants to help everyone I can, but social media can set me on overload.

That said, what can one such as I do to better engage on social media? Where does the balance lie? I suspect it's different for everyone, depending on whether promoting books, freelance writing services, or simply to engage in a little socialization.

Here are three tips that have helped me. And no matter what kind of social media fan (or not) you are, maybe they'll help you too.

1) Spread the love by sharing. If I enjoy the content of a blog or website, I usually share it with others by sending a tweet on Twitter, posting on Facebook or Google+, or pinning a link on Pinterest. Most sites have share buttons somewhere on the screen, and it only takes a few seconds to do. It boosts your visibility on social media while sharing good info with others.

2) Schedule posts in advance. Social media management sites provide free tools to schedule and manage tweets and posts on your most used outlets. My favorite is Hootsuite. I take a little time each month there, scheduling tweets and posts in advance. It's a big time saver, and provides exposure for whatever I wish to promote, whether it's friends' or my own work/services or other links and items worth sharing.

3) Make it do double duty. Many social media outlets allow you to post through them onto other sites. For instance, I set up my Facebook author page's posts to automatically appear on Twitter too. Others, such as Pinterest and Instagram provide the same options. Check the settings to see what options are available. One word of caution - if you are, for example, a frequent pinner on Pinterest, and it's linked to Facebook, your feed can be flooded with posts. So check the settings and see how much you want to share, or not.

Whether you're a shy or outgoing writer or other creative, there are dozens of handy tools available to strike your right social media balance.

Do you enjoy social media? Why or why not? What helps you balance social media time with other parts of life?

Happy writing,


Image credit: Free Images

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Publishing Journey: Reflections & Lessons

Most of you know that I left my publisher this summer. It's not a journey I regret, for I learned much through the process, from signing the contract and publication to the hard decision to part ways.

Reflecting on the experience - it's had its benefits. These three things stand out:

  • New friends - I had the privilege of meeting talented writers from around the globe. (You've met a few through interviews here.) These lovely people are kind and smart, and a great testimony to the wonderful writing community. Best of all, we're still friends.

  • The importance of a good contract - While I thought the one I had was good, it did have items that I'd be more mindful of next time. It'll be worth the investment to have my lawyer's input before signing on the dotted line. 

  • Better social media skills - I'm no social media pro now, but I gained insight and helpful tips through the necessary promotional activities. These skills continue to be an asset. 

In the big picture, this event was but a blip on the screen. I'm grateful for what I've gained and learned. Looking forward to the next chapter of the adventure. That said, I have a few suggestions for anyone seeking a book publisher. These tips can also apply to freelancers who write for websites, magazines, and other publications.

1) Heed the legal and other details. Review guidelines and other paperwork thoroughly. Get a lawyer familiar with publishing to review the contract. When in doubt, ask - the publisher and staff, the lawyer, etc. There are no stupid questions here.

2) Do your homework. Talk to authors published (past and present) through the company. Ask about their experience with royalties, payment terms, promotional requirements, response time and ease of communication with staff, etc.

3) Read books published by the company. Is it quality material? What do the covers and formatting look like - are they polished and professional? Would you be proud to be associated with this firm?

4) Check their reputation. From the Better Business Bureau to sites for writers like Writers Weekly and Preditors and Editors, research the company's history, status, and integrity. Google not only the company, but its key staff members. Have they had complaints or lawsuits against them? Heed the red flags.

While these tips aren't a guarantee for success, they can help prevent a difficult situation later.

Do you have any related tips or advice to offer? What have you learned through challenging situations?  How do you keep a good perspective?

Happy writing,


Monday, October 17, 2016

Miscellaneous Monday

What have you been up to lately? Writing? Enjoying fall weather? (Or spring, depending on where you live.)
Been doing freelancing work here, teaching teen writing classes, and working on a plan to bottle this lovely October weather. I've also found a few interesting links, so thought I'd share them this week.

Does Twitter make your heart flutter with confusion? Last week's guest, author Laurel Garver shares great tips on her blog in Building a Twitter Following as an Author: Lessons From the Trenches. You don't have to be an author to use and appreciate her insight and experience.

How does the relationship between agent and writer work? Pen and Prosper's "Ask the Agent" interview with Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media offers an inside look at the process. Jennifer Brown Banks and her guest discuss marketing, myths, platforms, and more.

Complement versus compliment - do you know the correct use for each? If you're not sure, check out this post at the Grammarly blog. While there, try the Compliment vs. Complement Quiz.

Do you use automatic editing tools? The Write Life's post, A Review of 6 Automatic Editing Tools  lists the features and costs of the most popular ones available. A few are free. Good to know!

What projects are you working on this week? Soaking up the October sunshine? Read any good books this fall?

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Free Images


Monday, October 10, 2016

A Visit with Laurel Garver

Please join me in welcoming author Laurel Garver! This lovely and talented writer is here to share about her latest book, Almost There. Her blog, entitled Laurel's Leaves, offers a great assortment of info and wisdom for writers. If you haven't ever visited, I encourage you to do so. You'll be glad you did.

Welcome to Write Now, Laurel! Congratulations on your latest book, Almost There! Where did the idea for Almost There originate?

This story picks up roughly 18 months after my first novel, Never Gone. Among other things, I wanted to explore how the protagonist Danielle and her mother would manage long term without her dad there as a buffer and support. I realized their very different ways of grieving would make the mother/daughter relationship become topsy-turvy, with Dani wanting to be an agent of healing for Mum — to essentially parent her parent. So this story looks at what it’s like to have tremendous love but limited wisdom, and how God meets us in those places where positive change seems impossible.

I also wanted to continue exploring how the difficult people in our families — like Dani’s cranky grandfather — often have a story behind how they’ve become that way. Learn the story, and you can begin to move toward that person with more understanding and love. Hearing my parents’ stories when I was a teen was definitely the inspiration for that particular theme.


Challenges and difficult people - it sounds like a good book that readers of all ages might relate to. What sparked your interest in writing for the YA audience?

Young adult books were what got me hooked on reading. Madeleine L’Engle’s books in particular most attracted me to the genre, especially how her characters clearly came from a churched background, but the stories didn’t feel like plodding morality tales. Her brainy misfit teens struggled to do the right thing when it’s hard, clearly making choices informed by their faith. Those stories were very life-giving to me.  So I wanted to create books like those I enjoyed reading at that critical time in my life, and further, to encourage kids of faith dealing with deeply dysfunctional families.  

I think many readers are hooked during the young adult years. What a great way to introduce them to quality books - write one! :) Do any of your main character Dani's traits mirror your own? 

Dani resembles me in internalizing a lot, having a runaway imagination and sarcastic streak, and being intensely emotional.

Those traits might mirror many of us writers. (Or maybe that's just me? Lol) What advice do you have for writers who wish to self-publish a book? Is there anything you know now that you wish you'd known before you began this process?

Networking with other authors is essential. As much as self-publishing seems suited to a lone wolf mentality, you can’t get far without others ahead of you in the journey who can educate you, encourage you, and champion your efforts. Finding your niche in the indie community can be very creatively empowering, helping you discover new strengths as well.

I wish I known from the beginning of my publishing journey what a powerful networking and book marketing tool Twitter would become for me, and that I hadn’t been so intimidated by it. I still feel like I’m playing catch up in trying to build audience through social media because of my reluctance to be active there initially.

Good advice! And much appreciated. What's on the horizon writing wise for you? Will Dani's story continue in a Book 3?

I’m working on a Christmas novella that takes place between Almost There and my first novel Never Gone, told in alternating points of view from both Dani’s and Theo’s perspective. It’s their first Christmas as a couple — and the first anniversary of Dani’s father’s death — so the pressure is on for Theo to find the perfect gift.

I have several nonfiction projects in the works as well, including a fun collection of writing prompts that is nearly complete.

Thanks so much for stopping by to see us. Wishing you well on your journey! :)

Thanks so much for having me, Karen!

About Laurel  

Laurel Garver is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly's Fairmount Park. You can follow her on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

About Almost There  

Genre: Young Adult Inspirational

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save.

Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?

Available here: Amazon  /  Barnes and Noble  /  Smashwords  / Apple iTunes  

Did you begin reading books during your young adult years? What were your favorite YA books? Do you have any questions for Laurel?

Happy writing,

Monday, October 3, 2016

Meet the Blogger with Amber Schamel

I had the pleasure of meeting this month's guest, Amber Schamel, about 3 years ago. An historical and Biblical fiction writer, she's smart and dedicated, and committed to telling a good story. 

Her latest book, Dawn of Liberty, joins several others to her credit and promises to be a winner. If you have a minute, stop by Amber's website. It's a fun place to find excerpts of her books, giveaways, quizzes, and games. 

Welcome, Amber! Can you share a little about why you started blogging? How long have you had your current blog? 

I was first introduced to the blogging community around 2009. My first blog was a family blog where we shared some insights and stories about life in a large family. (I’m the 2nd born of 12.) I really enjoy getting to know folks through blogging. I moved on from the family blog to history and fiction blogging. I’ve been doing that since 2013. 

Blogging is a great way to meet people from all over the world, that's for sure. What else do you discuss on your blog? Are you part of any other blogging communities?

I have my own blog, but I’m also a part of two group blogs. My personal blog is more random and can contain anything from history tidbits to family stories, author updates and musings about life and faith. I'm a part of Stitches Thru Time, a group blog that brings together people who love history, books, and crafts. It’s a super fun group of people, and I enjoy hanging out there. 

I’m also a part of the Heroes, Heroines and History blog which features history tidbits every day. Since I’m a history nerd, I LOVE this. Not to mention many of the blog writers are also writers of Christian fiction, which I also love. ;) 

It seems history is in your DNA! :) I've visited the Stitches Thru Time blog. It's a great source of interesting and informative historical stories and tidbits.  What benefits have you gained through blogging? 

Blogging has helped mold my writing skills, as well as taught me to keep deadlines. My blog posts usually require a lot of research, so I learn all kinds of things that way as well. I find blogs to be a lot like virtual coffee shops. You can hang out there and talk to people, get to know them, and discuss interesting subjects. I love it. 

"Virtual coffee shops" - I like that term. It's true, isn't it? What  are you working on right now? 

I recently released a collection of short stories on Samuel Adams and the signing of the Declaration of Independence called DAWN OF LIBERTY. I’m so excited to see the reviews coming in with comments like “I now feel like I know Sam Adams.” and “It brought history to life.” As an author, that is my continual project, to bring HIStory to life for readers. Now that Dawn of Liberty is out for purchase, I’m working on a story about a would-be attorney who flees his failure by joining the Union army during the Civil War. His best friend gets in a bind, and Caleb has to decide to face his fear, or let his friend hang. 

Dawn of Liberty sounds like a good read, as does your WIP. Will look forward to learning more about that too. What might people be surprised to learn about you? 

Well, when people first meet me in person they are surprised at how old I am. I’m twenty-five, but I manage to still look 16. That’s because I found Eternal Life at 16 and haven’t aged since. ;) 

Maintaining age 16 sounds like a good idea. :) What advice would you share with a newbie blogger?  

Be specific, and be consistent. What I mean by that is find a topic or two that you want to blog on, and stick to those. Don’t be sporadic. The bottom-line is readers want to know what to expect, what type of post they will receive from you, and how often. 

Great advice, Amber. So glad you stopped by to see us!

Thank you, Karen! 

More About Amber 
Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on her website, at the Stitches Thru Time or Heroes, Heroines and History blogs, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. 


Do you enjoy history? Have any questions for Amber? What are you reading this week? 

Happy reading and writing,