I Love the Internet

Dear Reader,

A short and random post today as I’m getting over an awful cold. Just wanted to let you know I love the internet because I get to share my fangirl obsessive love of nerdy things like Doctor Who with complete strangers. For example, a short conversation I had with @The_BookishType via Twitter last night…

@The_BookishType: I’m completely addicted to #DoctorWho. And it’s all because of you, Twitter.

To which I replied…

@worderella: The Twitterverse replies in a tone so solemn, “You are very welcome.”

Her response was a simple “LOL.” Wanna know why? Because it’s a fact that Doctor Who is a brilliant show that delights anyone who loves quick dialogue and snarky humor. Whedon fans should be all over this stuff.

Seriously though, if you aren’t watching Doctor Who, we have a problem. The writing improves every episode, the characterization is absolutely nuts (the writers have even gotten me to like Matt Smith, the new incarnation of the Doctor!), and can I just say Nerdy David Tennant with black nerd glasses and Converse shoes?

Yes. All of that. Wrap it up in a bow and leave it on my front doorstep please.

And now, back to your regular schedules. I’m off to sneeze and whine about sinus pressure to my co-workers. Best,

Belinda

P.S. Image found via Tumblr.

The Cost of Self-Promotion

Dear Reader,

Once again I reflect upon the idea of self-promotion, something which leaves a dour taste in my mouth and flags my spirit, making it difficult for me to be creative and write. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I was cutting out social networking for a while, which in essence meant I was cutting out all marketing (other than my AuthorBuzz subscription through fReado).

I have been concerned about my sales. Everyone has been bragging about their sales, which eclipse mine to the point of it no longer being depressing, but laughable. I read the blog of Zoe Winters, paranormal romance author, regularly and am inspired and jealous of her success.

Here’s the thing: I’m amazed and more than a little frightened by how much Zoe does. The promotions, contests, videos, book trailers, blog tours… So you have no idea how relieved I was when she wrote her post “No Shortcut to Awesome.” The content of the post was a comparison between her two writing names, Zoe and her pseudonym. Zoe goes crazy (literally) over promotion. Her pseudonym focuses on her writing; other than posting on social networks and in her blog that she’s released something new, she doesn’t go overboard.

Get this: they are making the same amount of sales, roughly. Wait. What?!

Man oh man, did I need to hear that. Yes, it is good to be available and connected to readers. No, it doesn’t help to freak about numbers in any format: Twitter followers, Goodreads friends, Facebook friends, Facebook fan page likes, Kindle sales, NOOK sales, blog subscribers, etc.

I was watching all those numbers. And then some. I don’t even like numbers. I hate numbers. Numbers have, on occasion, made me break out into a cold sweat because they make me nervous. Which makes it even more amazing that I graduated with an engineering degree. Give me variables any day.

Watching Zoe’s process and seeing the similarities in my own is giving me the permission to do what I want to do, which is write. My friends and family keep reminding me that I do this because I love it, not because it’s my day job. I have a day job to support my writing. I don’t have to kill myself to make my writing a day job in itself. The goal of self-publishing, for me, is for my writing to be a self-sustaining hobby.

As long as I keep that in mind and stop peeking over the shoulders of other indie authors, I think I will regain my sanity and sense of well-being. I also bought a sun therapy lamp last week for work to combat my seasonal affective disorder. Both items, I’m sure, will be beneficial in the long run. In the meantime, I’ll continue to write, or not write, whichever feels right at the time.

All the best,

Belinda

Worderella Enters a Word War

Dear Reader,

I’ve been in a writing slump thanks to my car breaking down. Last night, I saw a tweet for help from the lovely manda903, aka Amanda Racette, saying she needed inspiration.

What sort of inspiration? She wanted to partake in a word war. Now, I’ve known of word wars for years, but have never taken part in one, other than the type where I’m working against the clock  like 750words.com and NaNoWriMo.org. In both situations, my war companion is myself. I’m fighting the clock alone.

But last night, I went for it. A thousand words in one hour, with Amanda as my war companion. We each had to report to one another how many words we wrote, during whatever time span.

I did 1100 words in 50 minutes. Amanda did 1400 in 60 minutes. Definitely worth the initial fear of failure.

Have you had similar situations where you just had to suck it up and go for it, risking failure?

All the best,

Belinda

Worderella Gets Synchronized

Dear Reader,

No, I am not talking about synchronized swimming. Rather, I am talking about the attempt to synchronize my on-line goings-on. You see, I can be reached at a number of places on-line, including…

That is a lot of places on which to keep tally. I’m certain I’ve forgotten a couple, too.

How do I keep up with all these profiles?

Luckily, applications like Google’s Feedburner allows me to automatically tweet when I post a blog topic or add links to my Delicious account. It also provides you, dear Reader, multiple options to subscribe. You can choose the RSS reader of your choice, or you can receive an e-mail digest of this blog, Worderella Writes.

Facebook allows me to import my blog posts as notes, so those of you keeping up with me there have the opportunity to stay involved. Facebook also automatically forwards all of my tweets from Twitter to be a Facebook status update.

I am trying a new WordPress plugin that should allow Facebook comments on my notes to be ported back to the blog and vice versa, so everyone can be a part of the conversation.

Goodreads allows me to import my blog posts as well.

I embed my Scribd documents on my website. When I read something on Scribd, I can “readcast it,” which is like broadcasting, to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Likewise, when I upload a new document, I can broadcast it to Twitter and Facebook.

I keep up with the  Twitter and Facebook statuses of friends through a Firefox plugin called Yoono.

Moral of the story? Start poking around your on-line profiles. See which ones will link automatically to the other so you don’t lose your hair trying to keep up with all of the trends. It makes life so much easier.

What are your methods of dealing with on-line profile management and marketing? I’m always looking for new tricks.

All the best,

Belinda

Worderella Hunts for her Readers

Dear Reader,

I’ve gotta say, it’s been pretty tough tracking you down. I’ve done it to myself, I know, writing such a particular genre (paranormal historical romance). But the thing is, this is the genre that is spilling onto the page, so this is the genre it seems I must write.

So first, I’d like to list what I know about you. I know you are probably a young-to-middle-aged-or-older woman. I suspect you are probably interested in historical fiction, romance, and the paranormal. Some combination of all three, if preferable. I know you are interested in relationships, particularly father/adult-daughter relationships and romantic relationships. I know you probably like…

What I don’t know is where you’re hiding yourself. I assume you are busy reading, living life, enjoying food, drink, and the company of excellent companions. I applaud these activities and encourage you to indulge them more often.

Our lives are far too hectic these days; we don’t know when to take a break or how to know when we should take a break. Even when we recognize when to take a break from the everyday doldrums, we don’t know how to.

Those of us who are lucky know to lose ourselves in a good book. The sort of good book I’m in the middle of writing, just for you.

I’m trying everything I can think of to reach you. I want you to know that I care about you, I’m fighting to make a quality, personalized product just for you. And I think I’m making headway, thanks to social media.

You see, I’ve been a part of social media for years. I had a Facebook page under a different name, and learned the ropes of the system. I deleted that page because, well, it was getting spammed by every robot and its mother. But I started a Facebook page under the name Belinda Kroll because I wanted to get to know my potential readers. I want to know what you find interesting, funny, weird, touching, etc.

I want to get to know you. And I’d like you, in the process, to get to know me.

But in the meantime, I seem to be getting a lot of fellow writers friending me on Facebook. Which is totally fine, and I’m loving the idea of garnering a small community of writer friends. But the point of my attempt at social media was to get to know you, and not necessarily my friendly competition.

Today, however, I feel as though I’ve stumbled onto a landmine. You see, I’ve been part of Twitter for over a year, but just recently set up a Twitter account dedicated to my writing. This Twitter account is where I keep up with the big writing and publishing news. I follow my blog friends, I follow agents and publishers, and I follow you, if I’m able to find you.

Which leads me to my landmine: the Twitter Search functionality. It’s taken me a while to discover how to utilize social media successfully. But I realized today that I can search for the terms that pertain to my writing, and therefore pertain to your interests.

I use this cool Firefox browser plug-in called Yoono, which allows me to log into multiple social media accounts. At any given time, I get real-time updates from Twitter and Facebook. This allows me to continue writing and researching, while taking pulse of the writing and publishing community.

Yoono is also cool because it saves my searches for me. Each search for Twitter becomes a sort of specialized list which I can access at any time. I’ve used the following terms to get closer to you, to discover if these terms pertain to you and your interests the way I hope they do…

I think I’m on the right track. The tweets I receive when I click on these search topics are from you. The content is that you’re reading these books and you’re suggesting them to friends and fellow readers.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to spam you by advertising my work. Instead, I want to hear what you have to say about these amazing writers. After all, I’m a fan of Amanda Quick, Deanna Raybourn, Susan Carroll, et al,  just like you. I hope to learn from their books and from your comments about their books.

But mainly, I just want to get to know you. So if you could, send me a line sometime.

All the best,

Belinda Kroll
(@worderella)