Pants off to That!

 

 

I’m 110% pantser. Always have been.

I’ve published a book and am happy with it. I haven’t reached that point of cringing when I see it or think about it. I actually like it. Hope that lasts…

Anyway, yes. Pantser. Me. Pantsing. No outlines, no planning, none of that stuff.

Never. Ever. Nope. Not me.

I am pantsing my way through two novels at the moment. Which is quite different from my previous book of short fiction. I’m pleased to say it’s going well. It works for me.

Right?

It does, right? Yet… I have loads of books lounging on my laptop that have been there between two and twenty years. (You read that correctly. I’ve been writing a long time.)

 

Which brings me to my point. Finally.

Is my pantser approach what has kept those stories on my computer?

I truly do enjoy letting my characters lead the way but is it realistic to complete an entire novel without any planning?

As a grown-up person who has been on this planet a few decades or so, I know that “never say never” is not just an overused, annoying phrase. It’s true.

I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a pantser but who knows?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubbleAre you a pantser or a plotter? If you’re a pantser, do you get to a point where you start planning? 

Do you believe self-proclaimed plotters can “wing it” or pantsers can plan, plot, and outline successfully?

 

 

I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie

 

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Last summer, this happened: James Patterson’s BookShots.

I love it. I want to sing it to the world! I’ll settle for the tiny corner that reads my blog but I’m singing, my friends. Loud and proud. “I like short books and I can not lie!”

Take a look at this. (And, if you’ve seen it, heard of it, know everything about it…don’t spoil my fun.)

Their message for readers is:

BookShots
Under 150 Pages. Under $5.00
Impossible to Put Down.

All the info you need (plus a modest boost) in a small, catchy slogan.

What’s this all about? This is what it’s all about.

Patterson’s catering to people who love to read but have very little time to do so. In fairness, he’s also targeting those who don’t read often or have the attention span of…what was that? Aw. A chipmunk! How cute!

The bonus for me, aside from having very little time to read, is that, as we’ve established, I love short books. I’ll be writing more on my undying love for novellas later but, the thing is, BookShots is bringing back novellas for the digital age with some clever marketing. Because, really, they’re just novellas in disguise.

(This whole line of books kind of reminds me of pulp fiction but, eh, what do I know about that?)

ThoughtBubble

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Have you heard of BookShots? What are your thoughts on it? In general, do you prefer shorter or longer books?

 

My New Blog Scares Me #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

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I’m calling out bloggers to publicly share their very first post.

I want to see them all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whether you’re thrilled to have an excuse to dig out that old post and give it some fresh air or you’re seriously considering deleting it after I tag you, I want to see it.

It will be interesting to read these (as a fellow blogger) and, also, for you to find your oldest post and see where you were then as opposed to where you are now.

 

As per the rules, here is my first ever (unedited) Lemon Shark post:

 

My New Blog Scares Me

I’ve been blogging for over a year. Yet now that I’m switching the location of my blog, I’m scared. This is a bizarre and fascinating phenomenon which I feel should be studied.

The site is so fresh and clean and shiny. I don’t want to muck it up. Quite suddenly, my posts are no longer adequate. My writing is no longer worthy. Because…why now? Oh, right. The fresh, clean, shiny new blog. It is not to be muddied with words willy-nilly. Posts must be planned and polished to perfection. Ah. But that’s not how I write. So I am faced with a serious decision. Do I change who I am for my new blog?

I have this chance at a new online existence. It’s mind-blowing. I can be whoever I want. I can be funny. Well, I’m not sure about that but I can be very serious and literary. Although. With the fragments… I do love fragments. And swears. They’re fun.

My point is still valid. I can easily, with the click of my mouse, switch the colors, the theme, and even the name of my blog. With a wee bit of thought, I can change the whole focus of the thing. I can become someone else. Someone else who is me because I am still here writing and I’ve joined Twitter and I like all my tweeps there and whatnot.

So I’m stuck staring at the screen. It’s taunting me. Really, it’s not. Well, maybe a little. Some of the taunting is me of course, I know that. But screens can taunt. Ask anyone. *whispers* They can.

My first post needs to be a Mona Lisa. Or a Girl with a Pearl Earring. Okay. Aiming a bit too high. How about the slightly lesser known, but still magnificent, Spaghetti on Wheat?

My magic 8 ball says…“Ask Again Later” What?! I was counting on that! How much later? Stupid toy. Forget it. Here goes. My first post on my new blog:

Hello, gentle readers. Spaghetti on Wheat.

Thank you.

 

 

Yup. So there it is. My very first post here on Lemon Shark. Okay, now I get to tag five bloggers. Have fun. Because I think we could all use some silly fun.

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…ten two twelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:

  • Drink a glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, mug of herbal tea or whatever floats your boat after you hit “publish”. (In other words, toast yourself. Go you!)
  • Read the post out loud in a Mickey Mouse voice.

 

Rachael Ritchey (Since she created the awesome badge for this blog hop, she’s my first victim.) 🙂

Now the five…
Norah Colvin
D.G. Kaye
Geoff Le Pard
Silver Screenings
Loni Townsend

Can’t wait to read everyone’s first post. 😈 Pass it on…

 

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Help Me Find Your Blog

 

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Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.

 

Since You Offered…

 

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Okay, I’ve published a book. I’ve chosen “accept” as my One Word for 2017.

1+1=2. I accept that I’ve got to promote my book.

There are quite a few bloggers offering to help authors promote. That is awesome. And I’m hearing this a lot: “Take advantage of this opportunity!”

I know these lovely, generous people are inviting authors to email, to introduce themselves, to promote their work. My painfully introverted nature aside, I do want to promote my writing but it’s awkward.

What is this I’m feeling? Shyness? Uncertainty? Self-consciousness? Or something else entirely? I need to think on it some more. Or you could leave your (PG-rated) suggestion in the comments. Bottom line is: I feel uncomfortable asking for help in this particular area.

Does anyone else feel this way? Is it just me?

And for these bloggers…is it awkward for them? Honestly, it’s like winning the lottery and suddenly getting calls from friends and family you haven’t spoken to in ten years (or ones you didn’t know you had).

This leaves me in a tough spot—a spot of my own making, I understand, but still. I’m not sure how to handle it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How do you handle promotional offers?

Authors: Do you only promote your book if you’re already actively following/commenting on the person’s blog or do you take advantage of the opportunity whether you’re blogging buddies or not?

Bloggers: Do you offer promotions on your blog for authors? How do you feel about people you don’t know (or don’t know well) emailing you to promote their book?

 

Slivers and Snapshots

 

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As bloggers, we give readers, fellow writers, and online friends what we want to give them. We decide what we write, how we write it, when we publish it. We decide what to share and what to keep private.

Readers know tiny slivers of our experiences, snapshots of our lives.

There are some bloggers who share intimate details, revealing deeply personal events from their lives. That’s great. That is their choice and they are comfortable with it. But this shouldn’t be something we expect of every blogger who doesn’t have a niche.

For a lot of readers, personal blog equals personal information.

If bloggers have a music, movie, fashion, food, or book blog, they are excused. But if they have a “personal” blog, where they talk about life, they are expected to divulge all sorts of information about themselves. Because. Personal.

That’s not how it works.

Even if we have a blog where certain subjects would seem appropriate, it doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily choose to publish them.

 

I mostly write about roses and only occasionally share the thorns.

Know that, even if I talk about my insomnia or getting overwhelmed, I may leave out that Aunt Foofie is in rehab again, I fell off the kitchen counter and fractured my tailbone, or zombies attacked me on my way to work.

 

Do you have a personal blog? How much do you share with your readers? Do you expect other bloggers to reveal personal information?


Pinstagram

 

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When I asked whether writers should use Pinterest or Instagram, there was a clear winner: Pinterest.

However.

I keep stumbling across articles saying how Instagram is awesome for authors.

What I don’t understand, about either of these, is how they are “social” media.

I get that you’re more visible, building your platform and so forth, but the chattiness of, say, Twitter is not there. (Claims the girl who is on neither of these networks.)

As I see it:

Instagram: A cool place to showcase pictures of your vacation, your lunch, or your cat. Or show off your mad photography skills.

Pinterest: A cool place to create collections of pictures that you like, that you took, or that inspire you. Or all of the above.

How is this social? And why are the articles saying you must be social on these networks…or else? (And what is the “or else”, anyway? Are there social media monsters that will crawl out of my computer and gobble me up? Actually, that’s creepy.)

By the way, I haven’t ignored you, my lovely friends. Pinterest it is. Because you said so.

Here I am… pinterest.com/sarahbrentyn

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Are you on Pinterest? If so, let me know so I can find you and “friend” you or “follow” you or, um, “buddy” you or “chase” you or something. Also, are you social on there? How? I’ll try my damndest to be social with you.

If you’re on Instagram and really like it, I could be persuaded to join that, too. Let me know…


Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Self-Publishing Is Like Planning a Wedding

 

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If you’re getting married, have been married, or had the unfortunate fate of being involved in helping plan a wedding, these will sound somewhat familiar:

“You can have Aunt Lucille take pictures. Don’t waste money on a photographer. You need a skilled DJ.”

“Have your sister’s boyfriend DJ. Hire a professional photographer.”

“Your mum can bake the cake, but get a designer for the centerpieces.”

“You can make your own centerpieces but not the cake!”

“Have an open bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“Have a cash bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

So here I am, planning a wedding. A marriage of words, thoughts, ideas, dreams, technology, design, and marketing.

How I’m to untangle all the information and advice, I truly don’t know.

Self publishing is kind of a DIY project. (Thankfully, not all of it since DIY and I don’t really get along.)

Authors everywhere have their own ideas of exactly what you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do yourself and what you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT spend your money on. I actually like this because, through their own experiences, they are helping other writers. Which is a lovely thing to do.

However.

The differing opinions are mind-boggling.

“You must hire a digital artist for your cover.”

“You can make your own cover in Canva or even Word!”

“Don’t pay a proofreader. Have your friends look it over. Save your money for marketing.”

“Put yourself out there and sell your own book. You have to get a proofreader.”

“Find someone to format the book or it’ll be a disaster.”

“It’s easy. Just grab it from Word and upload it to Createspace.”

“Take your own author photo…”

“Get an experienced photographer…”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

What’s a writer to do?

 

Okay, gentle readers. I know you. I like you. I have your books. (I think you like me well enough.) I really want to know…

Did you self-publish? What were your experiences? What did you do yourself and what did you hire someone for? Any advice? I’m listening. And I’m ready to hear it.

 

Where Do You Write?

 

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I may get an opportunity to have a few hours to myself each week.

Time to myself, people! Every. Week.

I’m ecstatic.

Because I’m going to use this time to write.

Here’s the catch. (You knew there was a catch, right?)

If I do the whole “drop-off, drive home, drive back, pick-up” thing, I’ll lose an hour.

So, I need to stay put. I need to be out of my house while I’m writing. I’ve never done this. Correction. I’ve never successfully done this.

I’ve tried coffee shops, tea shops, shoe shops, sweet shops. (No, really, not a sweet shop. In those, I just annoy my kids with how I used to buy Raisinets and Nerds in regular sized packages not the sugar-rush, vomit-inducing size they sell now.)

I don’t understand how people can write in coffee shops or whatnot. I can barely write my name never mind a scene or chapter in those places.

I’m so distracted by the noise and commotion, I can’t concentrate long enough to read the sugar packet I just dumped in my coffee.

I could use some advice. Or an alternative. I’m open to anything. Mostly. Let’s not get crazy.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Can you write outside your house? Where do you go? How do you concentrate? Do you have any other ideas? I’m willing to sit in my car if need be.