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Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Inkpop.com is a website run by Harper Collins Publishers for those interested in writing for young adults. It offers a blog, author interviews, a forum, live chats on publishing-related topics, and book reviews. Members have the opportunity to post their own novels, short stories, and poetry for critique by fellow writers. They can give input on the works posted via a ranking system, and the top 5 in each category are reviewed by Harper Collins editors at the end of each month. This doesn’t guarantee any of the projects will be accepted for publication, but it is a possibility.

Though I haven’t joined the site, I like many of its features.

  • It’s easy to navigate, colorful, and looks as though it’s designed by professionals.
  • The forums are active, and the threads I read show members interacting and trying to help each other.
  • The blog provides helpful information, including writing tips, interviews, and book reviews.
  • Live chats with authors, marketers, and other publishing professionals give members a chance to ask questions and receive answers from people with more expertise than themselves.
  • The instructions for uploading writing projects were clear and simple.

The site’s primary target is writers of young adult fiction, and many of the members appear to be young writers. Though I don’t fit into either category, I thought the site looked interesting and ended up reading several of the projects that were posted, as well as a few of the book reviews. Over all, I would feel comfortable using this site if I wanted to get feedback from other writers on a young adult project, or wanted to learn more about that genre.

Have you used Inkpop or a similar site? If so, was it a good experience? What advantages or disadvantages do you see to posting work on a site like that for feedback?

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Recently I received a book to review called Our Witchdoctors are too Weak. I posted my review as soon as I finished reading the book, just prior to getting an email asking me to post it during the first week of April as part of a virtual book tour. To make up for posting prematurely, I’m contributing to the tour by listing the other reviews for this book on my blog. If you’ve reviewed this book and are not listed here, let me know and I’ll add your site to the list.

I enjoyed this book, and admire the authors for their dedication to the Wilo tribe. Living in the Amazon in order to learn and record an unwritten language isn’t something I’d be willing or able to do, but I can and do encourage others to read about the authors’ experience.

If you’d like to know more about Davey and Marie Jank’s book, take a look at the reviews by: 

Carol Benedict

Valerie Comer

Carol J. Garvin

Tana Adams               

Sharon A. Lavy

 Jenn

Sue Harrison

Susan Panzica

Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it?

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I’ll be attending my first writing conference in a couple of weeks, and have scoured the internet looking for tips on what to expect. Some suggestions I’ve read are simply common sense: be professional; be prepared to take advantage of opportunities to pitch your work; be friendly; turn off your cell phone.

I came across a few ideas, though, that aren’t so obvious. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too.

1. Go with a particular goal in mind, but keep your expectations low.

You’ll probably not get a contract out of it, but you may get some feedback on your writing. Even if you don’t, this is an opportunity to network and to learn from people who know what they’re doing.

2. Bring business cards.

Apparently people exchange cards with their contact information as a way to network. Use the back of the ones you get from other people for notes that will remind you of who they are and why you took their card.

3. Research the speakers, agents and editors that will be there.

Your chances of finding someone to represent you or give you helpful feedback will increase if you know which ones represent the type of writing you do. You’ll also be better prepared to talk to them if you meet them at dinner or during a break.

4. Think up a few conversation starters so you’ll be more comfortable talking to strangers.

One I frequently use is: “Excuse me. I’m lost. Could you tell me where to find (insert appropriate place)?”  Or how about, “I’m having a wonderful time here. What about you?”

5. Bring something you’d like to have critiqued—but not your whole novel.

Some conferences provide opportunities for people to read and discuss each other’s work. Also, agents and/or editors may ask to see something you’ve written, so be prepared for the possibility.

6. Practice talking about yourself and your writing.

You want to make a good first impression, so think of something interesting to say in response to questions such as, “What type of writing do you do?” “Tell me a little about yourself.” “Are you enjoying the conference?” “Haven’t I met you before?”

7. Smile.  🙂

 

 

Do you agree with the tips I’ve mentioned? What’s the most important advice you’d give someone attending her first conference? What should I not do while I’m there? Have you ever attended the Indianapolis Christian Writer’s Conference? Are you going to be there this year?

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Laura Best, author of Bitter, Sweet, which was recently nominated for the prestigious Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, has generously awarded me the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you, Laura.

 

The rules involved with this award require me to share 7 things about myself and pass on the award to recently discovered blogs I enjoy. After much thought, I’ve come up with a list of things that even my closest friends might not know, but also won’t embarrass me to admit. Here you go:

1. I hide the candy I don’t want to share in the top drawer of the file cabinet on the right side of my desk.

2. I totally dislike wearing shoes, but love owning lots of them.

3. My favorite ride at Disney World is Splash Mountain.

4. I cry every time I watch the movie Ghost, but it’s still one of my favorites.

5. I am a compulsive list-writer, but I seldom follow the list.

6. Of all the things I would like to do before I die, taking a cruise to Alaska is number 1 on my list.

7. My favorite way to relax is to sit on my deck early in the morning with a cup of coffee, a book, my dog, and a camera.

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I’ve repeatedly referred you to my Blogs I Like page, and still think all of the ones listed there are awesome. This time, however, I’m going to list some that aren’t already mentioned there in order to give other good blogs some exposure. I haven’t spent a lot of time on these, but they each offer a variety of posts I think you will enjoy.

My nominations for 5 recently discovered blogs I like (I’ll add more as I run across them):

http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/  great for those interested in writing for children

http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/ spotlights agents and gives tips for writers

http://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/  lots of good stuff here for writers and nonwriters

http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/  useful tips for writers and bloggers

http://writeitsideways.com/  has good tips for writers

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Anyone have secrets you’d like to share today? What’s your favorite amusement park ride? What’s the number 1 thing you’d like to do before you die? What movie makes you cry no matter how many times you watch it?

 

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A common question from writers is whether or not it’s necessary for them to develop a blog or join a social networking site such as Facebook. The majority of us seem to think it is. However, there are differing opinions as to when, why, and to what degree networking is important.

For those who are published, or soon-to-be published, a website, blog, and social networking may be essential marketing tools. The trend in publishing is for writers to take over much of the responsibility for promoting their own work, and online activities can make a big difference in the success of a book.

For unpublished writers not actively submitting stories or articles for possible publication, though, an online presence may not be helpful. Devoting time to blogging, participating in forums, and updating Facebook may distract us from writing and studying the craft, which we should be doing to make our work marketable. On the other hand, those activities can be fun, and help us find like-minded people who will encourage us and possibly become critique partners.

I have mixed feelings about the value of a blog at this stage in my writing career. The people who read my blog tend to be other writers, but writers also tend to be readers—so somewhere down the line, this may become a valuable asset. Since I enjoy blogging, it makes sense to keep at it. For those who haven’t started submitting work for publication and don’t enjoy blogging, I think it’s more beneficial to spend time working on writing stories and articles than blog posts.

I haven’t joined a social networking site, so can’t say from personal experience whether or not they are worth the investment of a writer’s time. My opinion on blogging may not mean anything to those of you reading this, either. So, I’ve compiled a list of sites where publishing professionals discuss this topic. If you’re trying to make up your mind on how much you need to be doing online at a certain stage of your career, you may find these sites helpful:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/03/author-platform-what-are-you-waiting-for/  Joel Friedlander on author platforms

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/03/lets-talk-about-platform.html  Rachelle Gardner talks about platforms

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/07/social-networking-vs-writing.html Rachelle Gardner on unpublished authors and networking

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/04/building-platform-for-fiction.html  Jessica Faust on fiction platforms

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-on-platform.html  Janet Reid on nonfiction platforms

 http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~gct/social_networking_sites.jpg

What online activities do you participate in? Which ones do you think are useful for promoting your work? How much time do you spend each day blogging and/or networking? What topics do you talk about most often on your blog or networking site? When do you think an aspiring author should start building an online presence?

 

 

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