Tuesday, April 30, 2013


As summer approaches along with the desert heat here in Arizona, it’s a pleasure to stay inside in the air-conditioning and write. This also includes promoting my current releases. In the Relics of Merlin series, Double Enchantment was just released last month, and I have the brand-new book, Everlasting Enchantment, scheduled for release in December. I have a new contest on my website to win a garnet necklace for Double Enchantment (you can check it out at http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html), and I will be launching many more jewelry contests for Everlasting Enchantment, so if you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, now is a great time.
Although I’m excited for the release of Everlasting Enchantment, I’m also wondering how my readers will react to this new book. In all three previous books, the shape-changer was always my hero. My heroines were magic-users and despite how this alters power in my magical world, they were still constrained by the values of the Victorian era. Women were given a place, and few had the stamina to fight against their roles. In order to be true to the time period of the era, the personalities of my heroines reflected how they were raised. Although they were the unusual ones who fought against the mores of the era, I still wondered what it would be like to change up the scenario.

What if my heroine was the shape-shifter, and she was raised in the Underground, where little regard was given to the social strictures of the London above. Millicent would be tough. Maybe too tough, especially if she was a were-panther. And therein lay my biggest problem. How would I ever find a hero tough enough for her, and yet with a kind enough heart to break through her rough exterior?

He had to be very special, this hero. And really, really good at seducing a woman. But it would still be a hard task…so what if they were both thrown into a situation where their survival depended on them making love? And so a cursed Knight of the Round Table was born. Sir Gareth has been trapped in a relic for centuries, doomed to imprisonment until he finds his one true love…or so he thinks. And the relic he’s cursed inside finds its way on my heroine’s wrist, and the only way it’s coming off is if Millicent makes love to the Knight.

But obstacles stand in their way, of course, along with a were-vamp named Selena and a were-lion named Sir Harcourt…and the entire court of the Master of the Hall of Mages.
But there will be others who will help them find their Happily-Ever-After. An old were-firebird named Nell, a little house hobgoblin called Parsnip, a were-bear and a were-flamingo…and the Queen of England, herself.

I’m looking forward to what my readers think about this change in the series. And today I’m giving you all a sneak-peek at the fabulous cover Sourcebooks created for Everlasting Enchantment.

Isn’t it, well, enchanting?

Until Next Time,
My Magical Best,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Character Struggles

I enjoy a good story whether it is in the form of a movie or a book. My husband and I usually attend a movie twice a month and I always discover a lesson about writing a story. Last night was no different. We watched Home Run. It is a Christian-based movie about a baseball player's struggle with alcoholism.

This movie was a good example of how a writer drags the hero through hell. You first learn about the abuse he received as a child due to his own father's struggle with alcoholism. Next, the writer shows how the hero's addiction with alcohol is slowly ruining his life, but he can't see it, even when he almost kills his own brother.
The temptation at this point would be to force the hero to realize he almost killed his brother and attend the treatment program willingly. Not this writer. Immediately after causing the accident which landed his brother in the hospital, our hero pays a motel employee to keep his refrigerator stocked with adult beverages.

The main character is forced to attend a treatment center and throughout most of the story he takes one step forward and one step back. Just when you think he might overcome his addiction, life hits him in the gut and he is thrown back into the bottle. By the time our hero is ready to truly face his problems, you feel his agony and sense of hopelessness. There is no doubt he has hit rock bottom. This is the difference between a good book and a great one.

Until next week,
happy reading, watching, and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spotlight on author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Human No Longer Backstory
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Human No Longer. It’s my 17th published book – yeah! – and my fourth vampire novel. First, let me tell you where I got the idea for it. About five years ago, I was still trying to please the agent (who I no longer have) who’d sold four of my earlier paperback novels to Zebra in the 1990’s and, because she didn’t seem to like any of my new potential concepts, I asked her what she would like to see. Out of nowhere, she said, “You know your 1991 Zebra vampire novel, Vampire Blood? I liked that one a lot. The characters. Well, how about writing me a sort of sequel with basically the same cast, but with this premise: A woman, a mother, after being turned into a bloodthirsty vampire, must learn to adapt to the human world and still be a good mother. You know, how would she deal with everything when she had children she loved; didn’t want to hurt or leave them…but still had the need to feed on blood? Still had all the urges and desires of a vampire?
Yikes. I hated the idea but, to please her, I went ahead and begrudgingly wrote the book. I tentatively called it The Vampire’s Children or The Vampire Mother or something like that. I finished it. Not too happy with it. I had never liked writing what other people wanted me to write. Stubborn, I guess.
My agent, in the meantime, had begun her own online erotic (which I don’t much care to write) publishing company and when I’d gotten done with the novel she was too busy to even read the finished book. She handed it off to an apprentice intern. An intern? What? Who didn’t like it at all. Duh. So, disgusted, I tucked the file away on my computer and, fed up with the whole agent thing, returned to writing what I wanted to write. An end of days novel called A Time of Demons and a new vampire novel where the evil vampire wasn’t a mother. In 2010 I went with a new publisher, Kim Richards at Damnation Books/Eternal Press, and she contracted not only those two books but asked me if I’d like to rewrite, update and rerelease all 7 of my older out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks going back to 1984. Heck yes, I said! So for the next 2 years I was busy doing that. Some of those books were over twenty-five years old and very outdated. Their rewriting, editing and rereleasing took a lot of work and time.
Then, in late 2012, I decided to take a very old book of mine (Predator) which was contracted to Zebra Paperbacks in 1993 but, in the end, never actually released, and just for the heck of it, as my 16th novel, self-publish it to Amazon Kindle Direct. Just in ebook form. A kind of grand experiment. The first time I’ve ever tried self-publishing. See how it’d sell. Dinosaur Lake. A story about a hungry mutant dinosaur loose in the waters of Crater Lake that goes on a rampage. Hey, I wrote Dinosaur Lake before Jurassic Park, the book, ever came out! Really. I had my cover artist, Dawne Dominique make a cover for it…and it was stunning with a dinosaur roaring on the front. And I did everything else myself. Editing. Proofing. Formatting. With forty years and endless publishers behind me I felt I was capable. And it’d been selling so well I decided to self-publish another one…and I remembered the mother/vampire book. Hmmm. So I revamped (ha, ha, inside joke), polished, and self-published it, as well. I retitled it Human No Longer. Got my fabulous cover artist, Dawne Dominique, to make me a lovely haunting cover with a troubled-looking woman standing outside a spooky house, with two children behind her in its shadows, on the front and voila! All in all, I don’t think the book turned out half bad. In fact, with the changes I made I think it’s not bad at all. Now I just hope my readers will like it.
So that’s the story of Human No Longer. My 17th published novel.***

Amazon Kindle address: http://www.amazon.com/Human-No-Longer-ebook/dp/B00AU50VD6/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356736168&sr=1-9&keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith...
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.
I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.
Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…Amazon Kindle Direct ebook & paperback 2013)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) My self-made
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)
You Tube Book Trailer address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZYCs2DVhHg
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)
Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012) You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010) 
You Tube self-made Book trailer with original song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0-U9c2Lwfo
The Woman in Crimson (Eternal Press 2010)
You Tube Book Trailer Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRBvDI5G4Y
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)
4 Spooky Short Stories (Amazon Kindle 2012)
Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on Putting the Occult into your Fiction)
Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)
Human No Longer (Amazon Kindle 2013)
Scraps of Paper –Revised Author’s Edition (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003; Amazon Kindle ebook 2013)

My Websites:
http://www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding an Agent

Today's world of publishing is changing fast and most of us aren't sure where it is going. A few years ago, the road to publishing meant finding an agent who would pitch your books to editors in hopes of selling your work. Now writers need to decide if they want or need an agent. I sold Liquid Hypnosis to The Wild Rose Press without an agent. They are a reputable ebook publisher. I chose them because they also offered print copies of my book. They are professional and good to work with.

But I still wanted to sell to the big print publishers. I still do. My journey in finding an agent is a bit different than some. I have writing friends who have a Rule of 5. They make sure they have 5 submissions out at all times. I never did that. Most likely because I kept growing as a writer and didn't feel the need to rush into anything. I only submitted to a handful of agents. Early on in my career, I targeted Harlequin and they don't require an agent. I submitted to an agent who gave me the win in the Desert Dreams Conference Contest. She rejected the book, but I decided not to write Inspirationals after all and shelved that book for now. One day, I'll take it out and give it the overhaul it deserves. Since it is very different from what most publishers want, I'll sell it digitally.

Next, I sent Liquid Hypnosis to two agents I met at another Desert Dreams Conference. They both rejected it and at that point I heard about The Wild Rose Press and sent it to them. I was glad to get the publishing experience and credit.

I soon decided I wanted to try my hand at cozy mysteries. I wrote a story I loved and an agent came to a Desert Rose meeting and listened to pitches. She took me on as a client. Reflecting back on the experience, I was glad everything played out the way it did. She is a good fit for me.

I'm still going through the same decision making process other writers are facing. If she can't sell my cozy, do I sell it through one of the digital publishers or self-pub it while waiting for her to sell the next proposal? I'll let you know when I make a decision. In the meantime, I keep writing.

The bottom line is every writer has to make decisions that feel right to them. If you want an agent and you feel you have a perfected book, then you can try the Rule of 5. If you aren't in a rush, then you can do what I  did and submit when it feels right. It's your career, it is up to you.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, April 19, 2013

Introducing Lexi Post

It is my pleasure to introduce the debut novel of a fellow member of the Valley of the Sun Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

by Lexi Post

Rena Mills plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a haunted bed-and-breakfast to prove she can be successful without her ex-fiancé. What she finds inside is Synn MacAllistair, the distinguished, self-proclaimed Ghost Keeper. Her dreams soon fill with sexual cravings for him. But are they dreams?
Synn, born in 1828, is determined to free the souls of the resident spirits, blaming himself for bringing the Red Death that killed them. When Rena steps into the old Pleasure Palace, he’s sure he can take her through the after-midnight Pleasure Rooms and stoke her passion to complete the Masque so the souls can cross over. Her innocent fire makes him crave more, but it’s far too late for him.
As Rena begins her erotic journey, her heart becomes more involved with every sensual caress until she discovers by completing the Masque she would lose her ghosts. Synn’s betrayal wars with her compassion for her ghostly friends. Torn, she must make a choice between her financial security and freeing seventy-three trapped souls. Either way, she could lose her Synn.

Masque is available at:

For more information about Lexi Post:
twitter:   https://twitter.com/LexiPost              

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Indie Publishing

Independent publishing is growing quicker than most of us ever imagined it would. Many of us are wondering if we should step into those murky waters and are looking to others for guidance.

At The Desert Dreams Conference last year, I listened to Bob Mayer speak on the subject. He has found more success in epublishing than he did with New York. In his book, The Shelfless Book, he says, "99.5% of indie/self-published authors will be gone in two years.... They will step away, for whatever reason, and another indie will take their place. And be gone in two years. The gatekeeper to a writer's success is the writer and his or her own perseverance, talent, and willingness to learn and change. We have to keep producing quality books that our readers want to read and in turn will pass on to other readers. We have to continue to hone our craft. Learn from each other. We also have to continue to build our business and promote."

For those of you looking for guidance, I suggest you read the rest of the book.

Friday, I will be introducing a new author.
Until then, keep reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, April 12, 2013

SPOTLIGHTING: Holly Newman Regency Author

from Connie Flynn    
Today's spotlight is shining on my long-time friend, Regency author Holly Newman. She is among the best of the best, managing to stay true to Regency conventions while building complex and believable suspense plots that lift the books to a higher level. Like most authors these days, Holly has survived a tumultuous ride. Then she made some changes and life smoothed out. This is what she has to say about that. 

I thrive on the yin and yang of creativity and analytics — of art and science.

I am the author of seven historical novels (written under the pen name Holly Newman), I am a technical writer, I am a fused glass artist, I am a certified professional project manager in the Information Technology industry.

If I dwell too long in either creativity or analytics, in art or science, I become out of balance and irritable. I have found many people need this balance in their lives and I counsel people on achieving balance and what I call Unleashing Bliss.

I live in Phoenix Arizona with my partner, Ken, and six cats. My two daughters are settled and married and I’m a proud grandma of four.

 These and many more of Holly's books are available at AMAZON
Click Here to Buy

A lively match between a shrewish beauty and the suitor set to tame her.
Every bachelor in London sought the attentions of the beautiful Helene Monweithe. Unfortunately, pursuit was futile. Helene's father had decreed that she could not wed before her older sister, Elizabeth, wed. Considering Elizabeth's reputation as The Shrew of London, this was cause for alarm.

Then Justin, Viscount St. Ryne, asked for Elizabeth's hand in marriage. If her family wept for joy, Elizabeth shrieked in fury. But in her heart of hearts she acknowledged he resembled the hero of her closely guarded dreams.

Poor Elizabeth hadn't the faintest notion that St. Ryne had a curious plan designed to tame her, a plan that would tangle their hearts and would, in the face of unexpected interlopers and domestic scandal, teach both arrogant husband and quick-tempered wife a thing or two about love and marriage!

Click Here to Buy

They say "Love conquers all"
But with loves destroyed and lives damaged by vicious lies,
Will the Devil's Disciple and The Ice Witch share a love strong enough to conquer rumor's power?

Miss Jane Grantley, dubbed the "Ice Witch" for her cool green gaze that intimidated all but the most calculating of suitors, feared no man and scoffed at the many scheming designs on her virtue, swearing never to marry for any reason but love.

The Earl of Royce, the infamous "Devil's Disciple," was all that Jane loathed in a man. He was a rake, responsible for the ruin of innocent ladies -- if the countless rumors about him were to be believed. Jane planned to undo the rogue once and for all, but it appeared that Royce had plans of his own. The Devil's Disciple refused to live up to his name, instead playing the perfect gentleman until even the Ice Witch found her reserve melting.

Click Here to Buy 

A husband murdered
A widow's ruse to find the killer
A nobleman's curiosity
Lead to a white slavery ring destroyed and a love found

A loving heart cannot be deceived

Although her marriage to Mr. Waddley had been passionless, the beautiful widow Cecilia vowed to unmask the man responsible for her husband's untimely demise. Suspecting that the culprit traveled in society circles, Cecilia diverted attention from her eavesdropping and prying with her constant and tiresome complaints of illness.

Sir James Branstoke saw through her feigned fragility. Intrigued by her odd behavior, he believed she was hiding a secret. At the same time, Cecilia sensed deeper emotions beneath Sir Branstoke's witty flirtations. Indeed, the only time Cecilia felt genuinely out-of-sorts was when she felt the gaze of his brown eyes ... and her pretended palpitations suddenly became all too real when Cecilia discovered a blissful and surprising love she had never known before ...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The New Dirty Word

That got your attention didn't it? But I'm not talking the traditional four letter words, I'm talking about  a dirty word to artists, writers, etc. That word is promotion.
I know some writers who think because they have a NY publisher, they don't have to do any promotion, but the times they are a changin'. If you want to be successful in this business you're gonna need a plan to get your name out there. Publishing a book isn't enough anymore.
Authors need to be discovered, not by agents but by readers.
And there's many venues to do it, too many for one blog to list.
And they don't work for everyone.
But I think, really believe, that there are threads in people's success that cross genres, abilities and writing levels.

1--write and write often.
Explanation: You need books out there for people to buy. I've heard it time and time again, many readers aren't going to buy your book if you only have one available. If they like your stuff, they're gonna want more and want it now. And, I should add, series are gold. If someone likes your characters, they're not going to want them to leave. EVER!

2--to keep your numbers up, it helps to write in one genre.
Explanation--This seems like a no brainer, but the truth is I am multipubbed in multiple genres and I always will be. As much as I'd like to be a writer dedicated to the business, I'm a storyteller who writes. Which means, I'm switching from my money makers to the book I want to write. I'm ignoring the business side of publishing for the artistic and creative side. It will cost me money, but it feeds my soul.

3--schedules are important, keep with them.
Explanation--consistently put new material out there for your readers and let them know when to expect it. Even if you can only write a book a year, let them know when it's out or will be released.

4--Freebies sell books
Explanation--I know lots of folks disagree with this, but it's true.  I have several short stories on permafree at all outlets and that drives folks to buy my books. It gives them a taste of my style, which isn't for everyone. I also post free chapters of my book, depending on my contract and let me say on my blog, I consistently get hits, it builds momentum and makes people eager for my book to be released.

5--Pricing matters
Explanation--ebooks don't cost much to produce and a savvy buyer knows this, unless you're a big name author with a huge following, not everyone is going to buy your 8 dollar ebook. Even though I have 20 books/stories published, I am still being discovered. My self-pubbed prices are low and the first book in a series is always 99cents (US). Why? Because I write in a series and if someone like the first book, they'll like the second. Also, there are a ton of folks who only buy 99cent books and I have the reviews to prove it stands out at that price point, so much so that these buyers will give up a chance to buy 3 books to purchase one of mine at 2.99. That my friends is what  this business is about, earning reader loyalty.

6--Websites are on the way out.
Explanation--this is probably the biggest shocker and I'd say that 90% of you are shaking your head. Yes, readers will visit  your website once if they've liked your book. And I can tell you I receive over 7,500 hits on my website a month, but my fans stalk my blog not my website, or they'll follow my facebook author page, goodreads or twitter. And it is their favorite social media, not all of them. I have different fans on different places, and only that place. Since I can't be everywhere, I have everything linked so one thing shows up on another social sites .

7--It's not a business, it's personal
Explanation--This is more than just personally responding to legitimate fans and acknowledging that their feedback means something (Let me clarify, these are not reviews, but contacts by someone through social media). This is a strange fact is that readers want to know you, the author. I break every rule when it comes to this business. Within reason I post stuff on my blog, personal stuff, like my hobbies, playlists, DIY projects and weird things that happen in my life. And people respond, even offer helpful advice. Those connections keep readers coming back. I know the advice is to make a theme relevant to your books, but the onlyconnection my posts have with my books is that they both contain the same sense of humor.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stake Your Claim is being reissued

A few months ago I was notified that Amazon Publishing bought out my first publisher Avalon Books. I had no problem with this as my book was pretty much out of print and not available as an e-book. The only thing I asked them to do was redesign the cover. They agreed and I'm pleased with the result. What do you think? I don't have a release date yet, but I'm sure it will be soon.


Eden Delgado holds Charles Kipling personally responsible for her father's death in a mining accident twenty years ago. There's no way she'll allow his smooth-talking, good-looking grandson, Jake, to resume operations.

Jake Kipling has his own agenda and wants to restore the family mining tradition in Arizona. As a Kipling, he wants to prove he can provide jobs and services as his ancestors once had. As a man, he wants to connect with his past and discover the life of a father he never knew. His father was also one of the men killed.

Eden, this passionate, loyal woman--a woman, who weaves her way into his heart and his soul--fascinates Jake. But when it comes to love, can Jake walk away from his obligations and his heritage? Can Eden, who is attracted to his strength and protectiveness, betray the cherished memories of her father by falling for him?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Readers Don't Need To Be Hit Over The Head

This past week one of my uncles, Johnny, passed away. He was about nine years old when I was born and I remember him playing with me when I was young. Him and another uncle, Chuck, would feed me black licorice, then spin me in a chair till I threw up. That was great fun to little kids.

The Swayzee's are a huge group, I usually call us a clan. Johnny spent his final moments at Chuck's house with his daughter, brothers, nieces, nephews, and friends in every room, including the garage. I joke that you always know you've reached a Swayzee gathering if the garage door is open and there are few people, usually my uncles, standing around talking.

There were about eight of us in the room when he passed, a fraction of the gathering. We cried and then later came back into the room where his daughter and former wife remained, close to his side. We told stories and laughed. To some, that would be creepy, but my uncle would have looked down and smiled. That is how we said good-bye. My family is tight. We love each other, we joke, we laugh.

Saturday night I was in a funk. I suggested to my husband we go a neighboring shopping center and find a new place to eat. We ended up at a nice Italian restaurant where we sat on the patio. It was a beautiful evening. Sitting outside with my loving husband lifted my spirits. At the end of the evening, the waiter brought us Sambuca, an Italian anise-flavored liqueur. We didn't order the drink; they give it to their customers because it is a part of the Italian tradition. I did not know we would receive the drink. In case you didn't know anise tastes like black licorice.

At this point, I can choose from a selection of possibilities  1. Coincidence - I don't believe in coincidences. 2. My uncle made sure I got the licorice tasting drink as his goodbye - possibility.  3. It was The Law of Attraction. I was thinking of my childhood memories with John and attracted the drink to me. I do believe in the The Law of Attraction.

Life always gets me thinking about writing. If this happened to one of my characters, would I explain the reason to my reader? I don't think readers need to be told everything, especially when it comes to spiritual elements. They should be allowed to draw conclusions based on their own belief systems. Also, it gives them something to take away from the story and think about. You want readers to discuss and/or think about your story later. In The Life of Pi, he gives you two stories and allows you decide which to believe. In Shutter Island, you decide whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio's character is crazy. Both of these stories are memorable. So, do you tell your reader or not? You think about it.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is There Gold in Them There Hills? Part III

This is the third in a series of four to five posts about how to 
succeed in independent publishing on Kindle.  

If you have an interest in reading the previous posts, these are the links:

SEE AND BE SEEN by Connie Flynn

I've been a lot more gabby with my blogging lately and I had to reread part II to see where I left off.  With Twitter, of course. It's no secret that I love this media or that I fully understand why many people don't. After all, 140 characters and you have to count the spaces between words, too? Whose crazy dea was that?

If you agree with that question, you've told me that you're living the Twitter-land fantasy.

So what is the Twitter-land fantasy?

That Twitter is all about building relationships. 

Am I saying that it isn't? Oh, yes, I am. Think about it. Do you really care if a stranger is having a relaxing moment on his beautiful patio or that a woman just found a cool place to get a manicure or that a--  Nope you really don't, do you? If you want relationships you go to Facebook.

Twitter is a marketplace. It's about seeing and being seen, another reason why that photo is so important. Because people like to do business with people they like, but on Twitter they don't want to be your best friend. They just want to know you've been around a while and will probably stick around. They do this by seeing your tweets.

It's also about letting people know what you have to offer, so don't be shy. Just be willing to retweet and engage in conversations because that helps the other tweeter be seen. Trust me, they'll do the same for you.  Don't let your tweets devolve into personal matters. Some people do use Twitter entirely for personal reasons, but most of them won't stick around because they, unlike you, are not there to do business.

So what's this content tweet people are talking about? It's a tweet that gives back without asking for something in return. Content tweets are hard, which is why so many of them are a bit inane. Quotes are good, but if you can come up with something original that's even better. Personally, I like to promote other authors and author venues -- conferences, appearances, things like that. I occasionally talk about my tai chi classes, mostly because the positions have such intriguing names. I could never come up with White Swan Spreads its Wings on my own.

Sorry, got off track. But here's the deal about content tweets. There's some arbitrary rule about 4 content tweets for every sales pitch. Oh, come on! Is anyone paying attention to how the twitter stream works? It's a chronological listing of every tweet put out that somehow includes your address. Unfortunately, you have little control over what goes in that stream, other than that it will only contain tweets from people you follow and follow you.

So the deal is that if you tweet someone and they retweet, their tweet goes to their followers and many of them will be people who aren't following you.

One to two content tweets a day are enough. Then do at least ten marketing tweets. (Yes, I know, I know, that's totally against everything you've read but most of that advice came from Twitter-land).  And unless you're a tweet-a-holic, it's also a pain to have to go in ten times a day to tweet. That's why you need HootSuite. Its basic service is free and while I've been toying with subscribing to its upgraded service, so far basic HootSuite has filled my needs. The best thing it does is let you schedule your tweets. Launching a book? Schedule a tweet every hour for 24 hours (remember Twitter never sleeps) and see what happens.

(See my post on Imagination Gone Wild about my experiment with heavy tweeting.)

My point, however, is that most likely the same people will not see each tweet unless, of course, it is retweeted within your twitter stream. This is a good thing. An endorsement that comes from others. Respond in kind even if you haven't read their book. Remember, it's about seeing and being seen.

Are there behaviors that turn people off on Twitter?  Definitely, yes. The first is any attempt to sell when you respond to a mention or retweet and responding is something you should definitely always do. But never ask someone to buy your book or product. They know you're selling something, so let the tweet be a billboard and just include a link to buy. Mind your manners when you send out those 140 characters.

The other turn-off is ranting about a favorite pet peeve or even saying anything negative unless you're in a private list where everyone is doing the same, and probably not even then. Remember what happened to the politician who tweeted his photo while wearing only his whitey tighties.

Okay, so now you know the purpose and the perils, it's time to get your followers. Your first goal should be to have 1000 followers. It took me nearly a year and a half to do that because I didn't realize two things. Lots of people drop you if you don't follow back. And Twitter makes it  easy to follow. Just click on "followers," found in the upper left-hand box on the "Me" tab and go down and follow everyone who is listed as following you.

This is what works to build your followers.
  1. Follow everyone that Twitter recommends, which they continually do.
  2. At first, when people follow you reply with a thank you -- later you won't have time  -- and retweet them if appropriate because these are the people that will help you be seen.
  3. Do not weed out your list at this time
  4. Follow everyone who follows you.  
  5. Search out who follows your followers and follow some of them.
  6. Do this at least once a week
  7. When someone mentions you in their tweet, reply to thank them.*
*Mentions show up when you click the @connect tab at the top of your Twitter page. 
When I started doing these tasks, I increased my follow numbers by 300 in just a few weeks and hit and exceeded a thousand shortly thereafter. I fully expect to exceed two thousand by the end of the year. More followers mean more peeps to see and see you and a wider audience for your books or products.

For authors, proper use of Twitter has become essential.  Amazon has been clamping down on the prevalence of free books offers and recently tightened the rules of payment for Amazon Associates who run websites promoting free books.This may or may not be bad, but the major pitfall is that it will make it harder to drive the traffic on Amazon to push up your rank. It's becoming more up to us to drive that traffic. See my May post for my take on how this is going to shake out for indie authors.

In the meantime, explore Twitter. I only know a tenth of the ways to use this service so run searches to learn more. 

Website, http://connieflynn.com
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Email: connieflynn@yahoo.com

I have been writing fiction for so long I can barely remember when I didn't. Sometimes people ask where I get my ideas and I can't comment too much on "ideas" either, since they come one at a time from different sources. THE DRAGON HOUR came from a suggestion that I set my story in Scotland, which to my mind was an overused setting. I wanted to spice things up so I threw in a dragon because my writing motto is never be boring. .I'm hoping I succeeded . THE DRAGON HOUR will be available on Kindle on April 10th.

A Scottish paradise lost in time is invaded by 21st century thugs