Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Planning For The New Year

I am doing well this year - I remembered that Ineeded a new planner for 2016, and Amazon got it to me in time! Last year I basically "settled" for what was available in the store - this year I ordered ahead of time, and am very pleased that it is already here! What initially attraced me to it was the bright red color - what a great way to send energy into my day! My day planner is always on my desk, so I can note appointments, deadlines, etc. as I move through my day, so having a nice size, and a great color, are real bonuses!

My 2016 planner is 8 1/2" by 11", featuring a full two page calendar for each month, with verticle, appointment-style planning pages, I love the tabs that give easy access to each month - the first and third quarter tabs are in black, the second and fourth quarter tabs are in red. In the front of the planner are reference calendars for 2015, 2016, and 2017, with a full page to list goals for the coming year.

At the back of the planner is a full page for notes, and a full page entitled "Future Planning" that lists the next twelve months, with a column for the date, and space for notes. Definitely a onus when juggling multile projects, or noting dates for seminars etc. for the coming year.There is a full page for listing birthdays and anniversaries (a good way to keep on top of both personal and professional dates of note), a reference age listing both metric and U.S. measurements, a page for listing websites, blank pages for notes, pages for listing addresses and phone numbers, and maps listing time zones (U.S. and global).

I feel confident that everything that I need is contained within this planner. It will help me to focus my vision for the coming year, as well as setting the ground work for 2017. Many of us are involved in multiple professional areas - I am a writer, I am a reviewer, I blog, I act as a PR contact for a wonderful - and very busy! - music journalist, and am on the editorial staff of an up and coming quarterly cartomancy magazine.

Each of you will have your own projects to keep track of. Life can be exciting when we take a small moment to keep it on track - and that is what these planners do!

Here is the link to the planner that I am working with: daily planner.

Wishing you all a highly productive 2016!

(c) December 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Promoting Books On Twitter

I have to admit that I used to put much more effort to working with Twitter than I do now. I know that it has more to offer than I am making use of, which is why I was attracted to an article that I saw on promoting books on Twitter. (Here is the link, so you can red it in its entirety - How To Promote Books On Twitter.) 

Spoiler alert - the article starts at day one - how to sign up for Twitter!  Then it moves on to the basics of creating a profile, how to Tweet, how to follow people, and how to get them to follow you. Personally, I wish that this had been presented as a separate article. If you are already on Twitter, I woud just move right down to the meat of this article, which is selling books with Twitter!

The first thing addressed here is hashtags, which I almost never use, although I know full well that I should! This is how we attract followers - by letting them know what we are talking about! There is a list of specific hashtags for authors, which is a goldmine! There is a listing of hashtags by genre, and for getting idustry information, creative writing help, and connecting with readers.

Of course, you also have to Tweet about your book! I am going to make best use of this section to get my books out there for the holidays. Whether we self-publish, or publish through a brick and mortar, as authors we need to do the heavy work of promoting our books ourselves. There is no magic wand! The greatest tools that we may have at hand are the social media - Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Google +, to name a few.

We also have to think about the very basics - Twitter is a 140 character base. If we choose to use links (and we shoud!), then using a shrtened link is a huge help. This article presents a link shortener that I have never heard of (I am of the Tiny Url generation!), but that I will be trying out.  One of the main reasons that I will be trying out this tool is that it focuses on where the individual clicking on a link is from, and takes them to the relevent link (think Amazon and all of its incarnations in various countries).

Competitions and give aways are also discussed. This has never been a tool that worked wll for me, but I know others that it has worked very well for. Certainly something to consider.

Twitter apps and tools are something that is beyond where I am right now, but certainly something that should be considered. I know that I need to up my tech savvy. and this doesn't lok that hard.

There is a great deal of information here - take away what works for you, leave the rest behind!

(c) December 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written consent of the author. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Beat Goes On!

It has been a while since I blogged here, but the beat goes on! Still writing, but also having to deal with the little things that life tosses at us! Major changes coming up, but more about that later. Today I want to talk about iPad apps for writing. Now, I don't have an iPad, but I know that many of you do, so you might be interested in this. Just know that I have not personally worked with any of these apps!

Pages is an app from Apple that functions as a word processor. You can check on word count, use Arabic and Hebrew templates, do a custom color mix, insert images, customize alignment guides and more. You can check out Pages here

My Writing Spot is an app from Apple that provides the writer with an uncluttered writing environment. (Great for non-techies like me!) It has all the good stuff - auto save, spell check, word and character count, is password protected, and works with either an on-screen keyboard, or an external bluetooth keyboard. You can find more information here.

Chapters - Notebooks For Writing is an application that allows the compilation of notes into self-titled, searchable notebooks. There is a really decent review of this app here.

iA Writer is an application that helps provide an atmosphere free of distractions, like graphical settings, formatting features, auto-correction, spell-check, tool bars, etc. Focus mode fades out everything but your last three lines of writing. That might irritate me a bit, but it has its uses. It also has a feature that allows you to see approximately how much time it will take someone to read your text. Love this! More information can be found here

(c) September 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Video Marketing

Marketing is not my favorite activity, although as a writer it is a necessary one. Making videos - well, I have not attempted doing that yet. So why am I even considering it? If I will follow a link to a video, others will too. And I have learned a great deal through videos placed on individual sites, and on You Tube. There are some definite marketing advantages here.

Videos have their place in personal branding, as do the social media sites. Together they can form a marketing plan ... on that cinches an individual's brand, and gets (and keeps) their product known. We have to "be" how we choose to brand ourselves. Our work, our product, as to reflect our brand. When our respective audiences can see us :in person", through a video, they can identify with us. We become real to them. Now, all videos do not have to be personal videos, but the ones that are will, IMHO, have a greater impact.

We also need to consider conversion rates. What percentage of individuals clicking on a link are then going to follow through and purchase? If we can connect with them through videos, and get them to identify with us, and our brand, we will not only have a single purchase, but we have an audience that will follow us on social media, and want to purchase that next book, or CD, or attend that net seminar.

Allow your personality to come through. I am who I am ... in my mid-60's, a conservative liberal, and a wanna-be writer of cozy mysteries. This is who I am, and any prospective audience needs to understand this. My target audience is specific. Who are you? What do you want people to know about you? Who is your target audience?

I love videos - each has a story to tell! I look forward to getting my story out there ... and to hearing your story!

(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Software Editing Program For Fiction Writers

I love it when things fall into my lap - and that is just what happened with AutoCrit! We all need help editing our manuscripts - anyone who has been writing for more than ten seconds knows that at times we are not our own "best eyes", and that having a friend edit a manuscript, while a great help, is perhaps not all that we need. And professional editing can be quite costly. So what can we do - we want our work to be both visually appealing and readable. We want to look professional, and we want the quality of our work to be consistent. Enter AutoCrit!

AutoCrit is a software program for fiction writers that acts as a critique partner, strengthens our writing (pull it together technically), and helps us to publish with the confidence that our work looks like we have put some thought into it. One of the things that I like about it (disclaimer here - I have not purchased the program yet, although I am going to, which means that I have only worked with the trial version of the software) is that it functions to give feedback. I tend to work in the middle of the night - with AutoCrit I can get feedback in the middle of the night! What a deal!.

Focus areas include paving and momentum, dialogue, strong writing, word choice, comparison to other fiction, and repetition (this is a biggie!). With AutoCrit, we can pace our work (the story has to flow, we need to keep readers reading!), dialogue is strengthened (that is one of my weak points), and repetition is addressed. (I read an incredibly bad mystery a few years back, where the same phrase was repeated a minimum of ten times within the space of two pages. This goes way beyond being a beginning writer!)

There are three optons for purchase: (1) Gold - analyzes up to 1,000 words at a time, as many times as you like, for an entire year, (2) Platinum - analyzes up to 8,000 words at a time, as many times as you like, for an entire year, and (3) Professional - analyzes unlimited words, as many times as you like, for an entire year. Please note: prices are listed per month, but charged on a yearly basis.

I find this to be a very cost effective way to edit for far more than grammatical purposes. AutoCrit looks to be a writer's best friend!

(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Up Your e-Mail With Sidekick!

Just a short blog to let you know about my latest toy - an app entitled Sidekick. What does Sidekick do? It tracks when people open your e-mail (each time that they open it), as well as when they respond to you. This is important to me on a personal level (no more wondering if something has been opened and read), and on a professional level (seeing that an e-mail has been opened, and how many times it has been opened, so that I know when and if to do a follow-up).

I also appreciate the fact that Sidekick sends live notifications when someone opens one of my e-mails (this appears in the bottom right hand corner of my computer screen). I didn't expect that, so it surprised me at first. But then I really appreciated it, because even if I wasn't on my e-mail site, I could immediately go there to reply if I knew that someone had replied to me. When I have projects going, and I often do, this is a God send!

A future feature for Sidekick is the ability to schedule e-mails, and have them go out at a specific day and time. This feature can also be used to send reminders to yourself - which for me will work well in keeping track of scheduled phone calls and webinars.

This app is compatible with g-mail, Outlook, and Apple e-mail, Salesforce and Hubspot.

(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited ithout written permission.   

Monday, March 16, 2015

Plots That Will Not Let Go!

Quite interesting when a plot will not let go! The first time that happened to me, the plot was actually far beyond what I could pull off. It was all about rarefied art, viewing said art in a very special room, having said art stolen, and recovering it. That started with a NaNoWriMo effort years ago - and got bogged down fairly early on. I worked with it, but got nowhere. The process, however, was a learning experience.

I am still convinced that cozy mysteries are where I belong, and that my primary character will be a female. Art still plays a part, although this time it is art in the form of a Tarot deck - a deck that may or may not still exist, and that contains an image that could bring some very important people down.

The backdrop has changed - the NaNoWriMo story was based in LA, of which I know nothing! My current effort has somewhere in CA as a backdrop, but the main action takes place in Las Vegas, where I lived for seventeen years. We have a disappearance, a brother who is not a brother, and a Tarot deck that has a very interesting story to tell!

Here's to this plot growing feet!

(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Rproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Curating Content

Curated content - I love that phrase! So elegant, so ... professional! I also happen to love socialmediaexaminer.com - they have some great stuff! That great stuff includes an article on - ta da! - content curation!  As bloggers, we are often looking for relevant content to share with our readers. Why share? Because it keeps our name out there, and it helps build credibility. 

One thing that surprised me is that curated content can also include our own articles. Most of us have a few articles out there - if what we have written is timely, if it serves a purpose, it makes sense to dust it off. We share other people's work, why not share our own! 

That lovely word "curated" - one definition would be to select, organize, and present using professional or expert knowledge. What that means for us is that we are searching for, and presenting, the best of the best. The article that I have linked to above presents several tools that can be used for curating content, including Post Planner, which cruises Facebook for content, Buffer, which is an app that helps to locate trending and popular content, and Edgar, which organizes and automates what and when you share. I have not personally used any of these tools, but I do feel that they are worth checking out.

From newscred.com, download a free guide to content distribution. Also from newscred.com, an incredible blog on advanced content "hacks". (No, you aren't going to hack anybody!) At info.curata.com, download a free guide to content curation. I love the questions here, covering topics such as content curation and copyright, pirating content, and generally curating content in an ethical manner.   


(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Setting a Foundation For the Coming Year

I am very pleased to be able to say that the book that I am working on for decision making has grown new legs! I have been working on it n and off for almost a year now - life interfered, momentum was lost - but yesterday I had one of those little "Aha!" experiences that grounded and centered my focus, brought back the joy in the project, and gives me hope that the project will finalize in the positive form that I originally saw it in.

Aside from writing books and articles, I also write reviews. That generally ends up being feast or famine - i just finished two reviews, and have one more to do this weekend. I also have what I think will be an amazing book winging its way to me. That, and an article for an upcoming print magazine, are on my plate.

I would like to share a couple of links that I have come across that I feel will be of help to writer's. Dana Lynn Smith has a wonderful site on marketing books - Savvy Book Marketing. Sharethis.com   is a wonderful site that offers links for sharing content on social media sites. AddThis.com has some wonderful web site add ons. Last, but not least, is a very interesting article by Jorge Olson on having a low tolerance for BS, This is important in networking, but to me it also applies to content.

(c) 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent from the author.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 - The Year of Organization


I am starting out the new year by creating an environment of organization around me. I am bringing (by choice) a writing project from 2014 that, had life not interfered, would have been finished and published. I also am determined to publish my first mystery. The 2014 project has several chapters already finished, and its structure in place. My new mystery project has a structure, or I should say had a structure. I decided today to toss that out, and restructure the story entirely. Two factors will remain - that the main character is a female, and the environment is Las Vegas. I am going to work on the two projects simultaneously.

I have two events already scheduled into 2015 - both from my Tarot world - one in March, and one in, I believe, August. At least one writer's conference will be added to that in 2016. I will also be choosing two professional writer's organizations to join this month (January 2015).

The next thing that I will be doing to organize my resources better will be to go through my bookmarked pages, delete those that I don't need, and arrange those that I intend on keeping into better categories.  

This is a start - and only a start. But it helps me to feel less overwhelmed, and that helps to get the work done!

(c) 2000 - 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of he author.

How To Get Characters To Interact

You have your plot worked out, and you have defined your  characters . The next step is getting your characters to play nice and interact...