“8-year-old who was bullied for her ‘Love of Bugs’ gets published in scientific journal” (reblog from Positive Outlooks)

If you will see Sophia Spencer in person, you would probably think that she’s like the rest of the kids of her age; someone who enjoys playing with dolls and tea parties. But instead of playing with dolls and dress-up games, Sophia busies herself playing with different insects! Despite her young age, Sophia is an expert in…

via 8-year-old who was bullied for her ‘Love of Bugs’ gets published in scientific journal — Positive Outlooks

Nerds and Geeks are ruling at younger and younger ages!  HAHAHAHA!

How do #authors actually find #readers? I’m stumped.

How do #authors actually find #readers? I’m stumped.

3 paperbacks

So far, since becoming a fiction author in 2013, I have spent time on most popular sites and established a presence on several, I have yet to find a lot of readers. I mostly find: authors (a LOT); those providing services to authors (even more); potential authors (a few); and, trolls (I block, but they do pop up).

I first published my ebooks via Smashwords which then distributed my ebooks for me to iTunes/iBooks, nook (Barnes & Noble), Kobo and many other affiliates globally. I then published to Amazon Kindle. As of last fall, I now have paperback formats available via CreateSpace (where I offer discounts; see below) and Amazon as well.

You may ask: what else have I done, so far? A LOT!…

—I belong to several dozen and am active in several Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups/communities and I am less active but do belong to a few groups on Goodreads.
—I have author and book pages pretty much everywhere they’re free to have and manage to update them regularly (I hope).
—I have posted my free ebook (see below) on dozens of sites that allow free books to be posted for free.
—My first Spanners Series ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.
—The second volume, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, came out about a year ago and the third one, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, released last December, so I have the supposedly magic number of 3 books out, now.
—All 3 are out since late 2015 in both ebook and paperback formats.
—I offer discount codes for the paperbacks on my own site.
—I participate in occasional sales organized by two Facebook groups (Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet) I am actively involved in (several per year).
—I give free ebooks to reviewers and always follow their guidelines and wait to be invited before sending the ebook to them.
—I have had more than a few reviews for each book, but not up to 50 for any (yet).
—I actively sought readers/reviewers on BuView and got a few but not as many as who accepted my free ebooks.
—I never pay for reviews or participate in review swaps.
—I post interesting, varied non-fiction content (never all about my books or asking others please to buy my books).
—I re-blog.
—I re-share posts.
—I thank others for re-sharing (not always).
—I retweet (but not everything).
—My posts go up on many sites.
—My WordPress blog is cross-posted on Tumblr and on several other sites automatically.
—I re-post my own on Pinterest and StumbleUpon about once a month, to give them another set of views.
—I put most of my Google+ posts into Collections about once/month, which also gives them a boost in views.
—I do occasional reviews, usually outside my own genre (#scifi) and post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and sometimes my own blog as well.
—I invite and host guest bloggers on my site.
—I guest blog/give interviews on others’ sites regularly.
—I have articles/reviews that have appeared on very popular sites, some of which have paid me for my posts.
—I have buy links, interview and review links and other links on my own site (look right; scroll down).

I am frequently on

Twitter.
Facebook with both an individual and a Spanners Series page.
Google+ with both an individual and a Spanners Series page.
Pinterest, with many Boards and not all related to my books, either.
YouTube (I have my own channel and a video talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, since 8/2014 and posted book trailers, author readings).
LinkedIn.
—I started a Patreon #crowdfunding campaign over a year ago, but haven’t garnered much dough.

I am also on/use

Authors’ Database
Authors’ Den
New Book Journal
Koobug
Bublish

I am occasionally on

Goodreads.
Library Thing.
Shelfari.
BookLikes.
—and other many other author/book sites.
—I visit and comment on many blogs.
—I have been on and listen to/comment on a few Blog Talk Radio shows’ sites.
—I was on Authonomy (it closed, but I did get some great reviews from posting my WIP on that site) and am still on Wattpad with excerpts.
—I used the Pre-order function, with half-price discounts for all three ebooks, several weeks prior to each book’s release on Smashwords and Amazon and other sites.
—I post excerpts from my books while they’re in Pre-orders on my blog.
—At the end of each book, I post the first Chapter of the next volume in the The Spanners Series.
—I post a CTA (Call To Action) asking for reviews, followers and readers at the end of each book.

Started but stopped…

—I joined and posted for a while on Ask the Expert and Quora, but got too busy to keep doing that.
—I joined Reddit but I hated the way the monitors interacted with posters and the rules are too rigid, so I quit.
—I joined Medium and some other sites (can’t even remember them all) but hardly use them. Apparently I have followers, but unless my blog is cross-posted on a site, I don’t know what they are following.

I’ve learned to do/decided to do these actions and listings because I spent a lot of time researching prior to and since publishing my first ebook. I read and followed the instructions for “how to find readers” from many “experts,” but I still usually encounter the above categories of people. Not to say authors and others aren’t readers, but I’m looking for those who identify as such and not elsewise in the industry.

I want more people to read, review, enjoy and comment on my books: doesn’t everyone?

added TODAY (3/15/16): Share! #Booksales best achieved NOT on #TWITTER, FB, LI or G+! Use #Youtube! http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/the-authors-three-step-test-for-sellability/

How do YOU attract more readers?
How do you know what works among all the things you’re doing to market yourself and your books?

All suggestions and anecdotes welcomed, except forget recommending I go on Instagram. I hate that site.

Thanks!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Please comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or email me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

Share! Read! Act! #Refugees #Crises: Thanks, David Amerland, for aiding

SHARE! READ! ACT! If you’re not on Google+, you’re missing out on many things. David Amerland​’s “SUNDAY READS” are some of them https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/MVBSX : Read them all!

gplus-sunday-read-September-062015

Here is today’s. URGENTLY need you to read this and ACT!

My comments:
“My favorite of all your ‘SUNDAY READS,’ David Amerland, because you provide calls to action of many types and degrees, from opening up our minds and hearts to our homes to our wallets to our ‘mouths’! THANK YOU!

“We are not helpless, but we need reminding and we need direction.

“SHARE! READ! ACT! #refugees #crises”
and
“The irony and karmic balancing that brings German leaders to help Semitic peoples…perfect.”

David Amerland originally shared to SUNDAY READ:

“‘We are alone, there is no one, help us!'”

“The contextual basis of our existence never becomes more evident than when we face what we sometimes disparagingly call ‘first world problems.’ Over the last few weeks I have been buried in business reports the urgent and pressured changes being made to the draft chapters of a book going to print and the inevitable everyday pressure of emails, articles, requests for interviews, comments and quotes.

“My life, to all intents and purposes, has been circumscribed by the immediate needs being pressed upon me, the narrow context of something that I have to do in a very limited space of time. Meanwhile, at the back of my mind, every time I dip across the web I sense the change in the world around me.

“As the sum total of largely man-made disasters accumulates around the globe, for the first time in our century, we face a mass movement of people, an Exodus (http://goo.gl/fWIurF) that’s the largest since WWII: http://goo.gl/leWg1X

“As hundreds of thousands of refugees flooded cash-strapped and ill-prepared Greece which is struggling to cope: http://goo.gl/rdlHbq The Economist ran a piece on why this is happening: http://goo.gl/kWZYjM. Europe, one of the world’s richest areas, is paralyzed by the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/V2AO7e unable to formulate a coherent policy, its leaders largely incapable of understanding the right thing to do instead of the politically expedient thing to say, are left floundering (again) – adrift in a situation that is evolving too fast for them to formulate a politically palatable soundbite.

“This has left the nation-state behaving like any system under siege, led by people who feel overwhelmed would: defensively. Hungary put up fences, ironically spending over 100 Million Euros (http://goo.gl/hlTg7Q) and using inmates to help keep costs down – its effectiveness already under question and its morality under attack: http://goo.gl/D5GUbc. Germany (http://goo.gl/D68U6r) and the UK (http://goo.gl/TF1c6w) have seen a far-right resurgence as the issue of immigration gets muddled with the refugee crisis and colored with anti-Islamist rhetoric (http://goo.gl/OFE0PZ).

“While politicians flip-flop on the issue and parliaments debate without anything being resolved the unfolding crisis gets deeper, its images, unrelentingly grimmer: 71 people die, suffocating in the back of a refrigeration truck in Austria: http://goo.gl/bs4oe9. A father, desperately trying to get his family to safety, left in charge of a sinking boat is left to pick up their lifeless bodies: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl the picture of this seemingly insignificant tragedy in a massive tide of human pain, suddenly personifying exactly what’s happening: http://goo.gl/P8D5uc.

“Death, usually only takes on meaning when it can be given a human face: http://goo.gl/KqaPKf. Its story made to reflect the big picture (http://goo.gl/DYxw8E) behind it that made it possible to happen in the first place: http://goo.gl/XN3Ysl.

“You’d be forgiven for thinking that there is little hope. That the world is a dark, vile place (http://goo.gl/gVeb2v). That those we entrust to lead us betray us (http://goo.gl/qWaAbL). That we, might as we try, cannot change anything, that really – context and content, our ‘first world problems’ – our issues with efficiency, marketing, selling and buying. The lawns that need to be cut and the BBQs that need to be lit and the things that make our life ‘real’ are, should be perhaps, not just what we should worry about but what we must worry about. Our security blanket. The sedative we reach for to distract us from what we cannot change, what we cannot affect. What we feel powerless against.

“This not what’s happening here. The same ‘first world problems’ that make our attention sometimes focus on the seemingly inconsequential, also become the driver for creating social media tools and the motive force for forging new ways of operating.

“Against the frequently stated, kneejerk, absurd and intellectually impoverished charge of ‘social media distracts us from real life’ and ‘social media stops us from having a life’ stands the starkness of the impact of a crisis that’s being felt even through the many layers of the pressures that surround us daily.

“Social media, connectivity, technology – for all their imperfections, also make it impossible to switch off, impossible to ignore and impossible to deny. No more ‘I didn’t know’ (http://goo.gl/6N0sXL) defense lines. We now know and feel and understand and agonize and think.

“And unlike our elected leaders, refreshingly, we act. A US man ‘grabbed’ a ship and set off to do something about it: http://goo.gl/dcGtE6. Icelanders (whose government caps immigration to 50 a year) opened up their homes, actively offering to help take in refugees: http://goo.gl/EkkbPi. Buckling under pressure from home Germany and Austria opened their doors: http://goo.gl/bO90rn internet shaming having at least one positive effect.

“It doesn’t stop there.

“The Refugees Welcome website uses people power and crowdsourcing (the same idea that brought us Airbnb) to change the way we respond to the refugee crisis: http://goo.gl/11E1ty. Petitions (http://goo.gl/MDY4Bt) are having the desired effect as EU refugee policy is changing: http://goo.gl/0qNqpE. If you’re in the UK you can sign the online petition to increase support for refugees and asylum seekers: https://goo.gl/1fDi1k you can add further pressure by signing The Independent’s petition form: http://goo.gl/qcOJ45.

“This is not an EU problem (http://goo.gl/fsqRe8). It is a people problem. It is a global problem, which people, seeing people in trouble can help solve. In New Zealand you can add your voice to those who want change to the refugee quota: https://goo.gl/wCmxjy. On Facebook the ‘Open Homes, Open Hearts’ initiative helps US citizens add their voice to the tide: https://goo.gl/bZsLqJ and a petition on the White House website could really do with your signature: https://goo.gl/tZy3tT.

“This could have been a really dark, hopeless ‘Sunday Read.’ The issues raised here are deep, potentially divisive. They are the kind that our elected officials feel powerless to deal with quickly. Yet, the very same tools that allow me to somewhat flippantly talk about the need to have plenty of coffee at hand and a mountain of sugary treats, allow us to connect, share, and actually do something ourselves, first. Even something as small as sharing a petition in our social media channels to help raise its visibility and awareness.

“We may be small. But we are not powerless. We may feel alone, but we really are not. We may think that nothing changes, but here’s proof that things are. The world is connecting across lines that officials do not foresee and cannot control. We self organize (https://goo.gl/vgukwN), create forces of our own, drive change in ways that only our ‘first world concerns’ can prepare us for.

“We understand two things that government and institutions do not always grasp: As people we can act to do the right thing, first: http://goo.gl/tMuQ8R. As people we can make a difference because we are no longer alone and isolated.

“The title of this ‘Sunday Read‘ was taken from the heart-wrenching message of a Syrian woman to the Italian coastguard: http://goo.gl/leWg1X. Our message today to the world, to each other, here, to those who we feel need help, in any context is that the world is really changing. You are no longer alone. None of us is.

“Coffee, chocolate ice-cream, donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake. I know it seems facile, yet it’s a ritual that helps keep us together. Make us stronger. More effective, until even more join us. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.” 

NOTE: I do not usually share an entire post like this, but so many of you are not on Google+, I knew you wouldn’t/couldn’t go there. And, this post and these issues are so important, with so many points of contact, so much information, and significant and easy-to-follow calls to action, that I had to include the entire post.

“Let’s Talk #Anthologies: How To Put One Together And Sell It”: Guest Blog Post by Alesha Escobar

I am so pleased to welcome Alesha Escobar as my guest blogger today. Alesha is a #fantasy/science-fiction and thriller author who does “mash-ups.” Alesha also concocted the idea of and edited an anthology of stories related to time travel, one of my favorite topics!

To honor the release of the anthology, Masters of Time (MOT), this month and because many of the included topics appear in my own writing, via The Spanners Series, http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners-2, we both welcome your comments, questions and experiences! Join the conversation, please!

Because MOT includes contributions from one of my CHANGES conversations between authors Google+/Youtube Hangout On Air (HOA) guests who is guest blogging here next week (July 15, ) about MOT-related themes, Devorah (Dee) Fox, and a previous guest blogger, Samantha LaFantasie (November 5, 2014, “5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block”), I am especially glad to help publicize this new anthology.

For more information about how to reach Alesha and know more about her writing, to become a guest on CHANGES or become a guest blogger on my site, see below this post.

Thanks for visiting!


Let’s Talk #Anthologies: How To Put One Together And Sell It
by Alesha Escobar

If I could gather some of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors into one room, I’d politely inform them that they couldn’t leave until they’ve handed over a compilation of new, addictive stories for my reading pleasure.

Except George R.R. Martin. I’d only let him participate if he promised to stop killing characters.

One of the best things about settling into a good sci-fi/fantasy book is being taken away to an imaginative world, running alongside characters you care about and feeling their heartache and triumphs. An anthology is a tasty buffet of good stories, whether they’re short tales or full-length ones. They can treat you to the scope of a single author’s creativity or a varied range of authors collaborating with each other.

Last year in an end-of-the-year blog post, I predicted (as much as one could) that we would see an uptick in time-travel stories. I decided to put my money where my mouth was and compile a time-travel anthology, Masters of Time.

mastersoftimecover

Now that I had the concept down (science-fiction and fantasy time travel), I knew I had to reach out to authors I respected and whose work I’ve enjoyed. Once I had that taken care of, then came in the “business aspect.”

If you’re an author thinking about contributing to an anthology or compiling one, I’ll share about this process in the hopes that it gives you an idea of the amount of work it takes, as well as how to avoid some pitfalls.

So, You’ve Got Your Book’s Theme and Your Author Line-up: Now What?

Contracts, Baby!

I’m the co-owner of a micro-press, Creative Alchemy, Inc. Not only was I going to contribute to this anthology as an author, I was also going to publish it through Creative Alchemy. As much as my co-authors love me, they have busy lives, projects, and bills to pay. They weren’t going to contribute a story for free, and as savvy writers, they wanted to know the royalties breakdown, publishing rights, and the length of time they’d have to wait before they could publish their individual stories on their own.

These are all valid concerns, so I drew up contracts in order to have it all settled and agreed upon. Even if the people you’re working with are friends or are trustworthy, still: have a signed contract. It won’t hurt.

Secure an Editor

I highly recommend that your editor is someone who is not a co-author of the project. It will help with objectivity, it will be one fewer thing you have to worry about, and it will guarantee that you’ll come out with a polished book. When compiling Masters of Time, our amazing editor, Charmaine, had no qualms with throwing us into the re-write dungeon when needed. Her insight, constructive criticism and feedback helped shape our work and mold it into something we could be proud of.

Set Deadlines

When is the first draft due? The second? And the last? Try to have a tentative release date scheduled as early as possible so you can work “backwards” toward that goal. Having specific dates written down also motivates writers and keep them accountable for turning in manuscripts.

Get a Professional to Format the Book

When six or more people email you their stories in MS Word format, they’re going to be coming in different fonts and sizes and with different formatting. Y’all know how picky Smashwords is with its vetting system and you don’t want to upload to Kindle Direct Publishing and use the preview feature only to find that your book looks horrible.

Save yourself the headache; once all the stories are compiled into a master document and edited, send it off to the formatter. This is also the perfect time to remind you to get your cover artist and work on the best image you believe will perfectly represent the book.

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s

Don’t neglect things like spelling the co-authors’ names the way that they want them to be spelled. One of my co-authors always needs his middle initial included, otherwise he is confused with another author by the same name. Does your author want to go by a pen name? Make sure you’ve got that down as well.

Have your co-authors submit their bios, book links and social media profiles, storing them in Evernote or another handy place. It’s a pain to ask them twenty times for this information because you never bothered to copy it down.

Double-check each story title and make sure they’re the final choices. Sometimes authors will start off with one title (or a temporary one) and then change it for the final version. Everything should be up-to-date and consistent.

And, after all has been edited and formatted, do another comb-through!

Don’t Wait Until Release Day to Tell the World about It

I swear I still have friends and relatives shrugging their shoulders and telling me, “Sweetie, why didn’t you say you wrote a book? I didn’t know!” Oh, believe me, I’ve been saying it 😉

Many people, including interested readers, lead busy lives. The internet throws loads of information at us all day, every day, and our social media feeds get more crowded by the second. It’s not a surprise that some people miss the exciting news that your latest project has just been released—so don’t wait until release day to alert people.

Masters of Time will be officially released July 13, but I’ve been advertising the anthology since the beginning of this year. How? As soon as I could, I put the book on pre-order and alerted my email subscribers (if you don’t have an author newsletter, start one). Several book promotion sites will advertise your pre-order, and then there are some seriously cool book bloggers out there who will also be happy to do a cover reveal, an interview, feature or a review of an advanced copy. Bloggers also love giveaways, so if you have a giveaway attached to your book release, it’s a plus!

I’ve announced my anthology at my own blog as well as brought in and featured my co-authors. We’ve exchanged guest posts. I hit the social media pavement and let my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends know. As we got closer to July, the advertising became more urgent, and I did all this while abiding by the principle of not spamming. It’s great to tell people about your book, but remember not to spam.

Also, while the bulk of your efforts may be through the internet, don’t neglect creating awareness in real life: is your local bookstore or library open to your holding an event? Can you share bookmarks, cards or flyers? Perhaps you can host a speaking engagement at your nearest book club or school campus? Get creative with the ways you can reach people and grow visibility for your book.

Now, Here Are Some Things I Already Wish I’d Done Differently

  1. I wish I would’ve added a few more authors to the anthology. While this collection is an amazing read, there are six of us contributing short stories and it’s 100 pages total. Not bad, but some promotion sites are used to presenting 800-page book collections and boxsets to their audience. I should’ve considered book length as one of my goals, though in my gut I do believe I chose the right authors and stories. This won’t necessarily harm us, but it will definitely be part of my planning process next time.
  2. I wish I would’ve done cross-critique among my co-authors. Though my in-house editor oversaw the book, I think there is additional value in authors reading one another’s contributing stories and offering feedback. This was done with the New Myths anthology I contributed to for HDWP Books, and it was an amazing process. It also lets your co-authors know what the other stories are about and it gives them room to mention these stories in interviews and blog posts.
  3. I wish I hadn’t had a “this is my responsibility” mentality. My co-authors were (and are) willing and ready to boost promotion and cross-promote, but sometimes I shied away because I felt that I needed to “prove myself” and show that I knew how to market a book. I also didn’t want to disappoint them. Duh! There is strength in numbers. If you’re the publisher or “leader” of an anthology, there’s nothing wrong with being open to letting your cohorts help you pick up the marketing and promotion slack. In fact, it’s better to have them all on board, helping. We have various skills, gifts, contacts and audience sizes. Working together to promote the book will only benefit the group—you’re in this together.

Hopefully, sharing my anthology process has given you an idea of what it’s like and what you should plan for.

If you’re a reader, perhaps this has been a nice peek into the world of writing and what it takes to get that amazing, finished product out to you.


Thank you, Sally, for inviting me today, and I hope you all continue to be entertained and inspired by great stories!


About the Author

Alesha Escobar writes fantasy to support her chocolate habit. She enjoys everything from Tolkien and Dante to the Dresden Files and Hellblazer comics. She resides in California with her partner-in-crime, Luis Escobar, a 20-year art veteran on The Simpsons television show.

Alesha is the author of The Gray Tower Trilogy, an action-packed, supernatural spy thriller set in an alternate 1940’s. The trilogy books have hit the Amazon bestsellers lists for Historical Fantasy and Mashups.

You can find Alesha at her weekly blog, Fantasy, Mashups, & Mayhem, where she discusses fantasy and science-fiction TV shows, movies and books, and celebrity gossip…She’s just kidding about the celebrity gossip.

But, there IS a giveaway for MOT: http://timeanthology.blogspot.com/p/enter-giveaway.html

The Black Dagger Gods (short story, New Myths Anthology)

 
Find Alesha on:

Alesha Escobar


MOT links:

webpage: http://timeanthology.blogspot.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masters-Time-Science-Fiction-Anthology/dp/1514173727
Trailer: http://youtu.be/PovabW4fyjQ
Apple iBooks/iTunes: http://apple.co/1bp77vK
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1K3ggGi
Barnes & Noble/ nook: http://bit.ly/1Kkkr0C


CHANGES conversations between authors is an almost-weekly, Google+/Youtube video chat show. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time: http://goo.gl/eX0D8T

OPENINGS occur frequently! #Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV


If you’d like to be a Guest Blogger, please visit my Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame and learn what’s involved.

Thanks for visiting, commenting, following, and enjoying this site! http://www.sallyember.com

My #SocialMedia Ground Rules: I Hope You’ll Adhere to Them; I Will Enforce

My #SocialMedia Ground Rules: I Hope You’ll Adhere to Them; I Will Enforce

Social media icons

Dear Social Media “Friends,” “Followers” and those who “Circle” me:

—Please do not privately message (PM or DM) me to promote ANYTHING or ask me to “LIKE” something or follow you. I will block you from then on.

—If you are an #author and want me to notice your books, write good books and let me find them. I don’t have much time to read much these days and I do not write reviews of most books. I’m trying to write my own!

—Please don’t request #bookreviews from me unless I know you and have reviewed your books already. I do not do swaps.

No Meme
image from http://brightestyoungthings.com

—Please do not become a “friend” or “follower” and then send me private messages in order to “date” me. It’s creepy. That is a horrible way to get connected. I will unfriend/uncircle you immediately.

—Please do not comment on my appearance, my photo, or my life in a private message if we don’t know each other. It’s also creepy. I will block you.

—Please do not “ping” me (put my name in your post) just to promote your…. whatever. See above.

—Please don’t ask me to vote up, promote, or review books I haven’t read. Do not send me “chain” posts or demand that I… Whatever. I won’t do it.

No-no-meme-
image from: http://www.fanpop.com

—If you keep posting (I give you one “free pass”) about Jesus, Mohammed, God, or your non-Buddhist religious books, I will mute and then “unfriend”/”uncircle” you. I’m not interested. I don’t want Bible verses (“Old” or “New” Testament), Q’ran passages, Vendanta quotes or anything else that is not Buddhist appearing on my pages, EVER.

—I will post quotes from Buddhist leaders any time I want. If you don’t like seeing those, mute or unfriend me, but please do not argue or post nasty comments about these posts.

—Please do not post pictures of anyone or anything else that is even a tiny bit NOT PG-13 on MY pages, ever, unless you’re making a salient point about sex-trafficking, abuse of minors or women, or health information.

—If you post “artistic” photos that are almost always pictures of half-naked people, I will mute your posts and probably uncircle/unfriend you; same if those are your usual book covers. My audience rating is to remain PG-13.

no-nudity
image from: http://www.downtownmiaminews.com

—In fact, unless we are actually friends and I know you fairly well, don’t post on my pages at all. PM/DM or email me and ask permission, being specific about what you want to post. Then, I will respond with “Yes, thanks!” or “No, thanks.”

—If I don’t like your politics but you are not offensively promoting them, that’s usually all right, depending on what they are. I’ll let you be. If I really hate your views, I can mute you.

—If you are hate-mongering, misogynistic, racist, classist, mean-spirited, name-calling and otherwise right-wing/ultra-orthodox anything and therefore, in my opinion, obnoxious, I will block you.

no isms allowed

—Please do not post rabid anti-Israel views on my pages, ever. My family is Jewish and some of them live there. Get a clue. I may not support all of its politics or actions, but I definitely support Israel’s right to exist. Intelligent, thoughtful discussions about Israeli politics and actions are welcomed; they are not always what I wish Israel would be doing, either.


Want to know what you are INVITED to do?

Curating Good Content: If you write or repost something you think I’d be interested in and it’s NOT an attempt to sell me your stuff, then by all means, “ping” me. I love learning/seeing new stuff on topics I’m interested in (which are MANY: check my previous posts. I will reblog/repost/share your great posts and give you full credit.

Connecting: If you are a reader of my books or posts, a sympathetic author, a meditator (especially Buddhist), a science-lover (especially quantum physics), a science-fiction fan, in harmony with me politically (feminist, left of liberal), or otherwise resonate positively with my writing, talk show and/or posts, please contact me to ask questions, offer suggestions, get to know me, especially if you live in or are coming through St. Louis, MO, USA!

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image from: http://youthclubblog.wordpress.com

Chatting: Want to promote yourself and have a great conversation while doing it? Check out my talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, and offer to come on as a guest. Info is on my website: https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

Cooperating: Want more exposure? Offer to Guest Blog something that is NOT purely for self-promotion. Use my email address for these inquiries, which is on my website’s
“Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.” https://sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

Community-Building: To get to know me, join groups/communities I’m active in (not a lot of those, though: on Facebook are “Clean Indie Reads,” “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Net,” “Gutsy Indie Publishers”; on Google+ are “User2User LIVE!,” “Lights, Camera, HOA!” are a few) and post something besides self-promotional posts and I might become interested in you and your books.

Collaborating: To get my attention, comment on my blog, follow my blog, comment on my posts, participate/view my talk show, CHANGES, buy my books and write reviews (or do that for Volume I, which is free), offer to help “crowdcreate” my two Volumes (VIII and IX), THEN email or PM me. https://sallyember.com/spanners-2/

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art by Aidana Willowraven

Crowdfunding: To support getting my ebooks into print, my videocasts into podcasts, my next two book covers and my ongoing support of other authors, my blog and my writing, AND get at least a free ebook or reduced-price editing/proofreading/writing tutoring services, please visit and donate to my crowdfunding campaign! I even sing a song for your consternation pleasure! : http://www.patreon.com/sallyember


I know many won’t see this, but it’s worth a try.


Where to find me:
http://www.sallyember.com  main website, which has ALL links to books, other sites, reviews, interviews, CHANGES episodes, Guest Blog posts of mine on others’ sites, and more

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  Amazon Central author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series’ page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember Sally’s FB page
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember Pinterest Boards
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series’ page on Google+
http://www.google.com/+SallySueEmber Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos Youtube Channel
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember Goodreads page  

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

What is the value of social networks in easing the loneliness of the solo writer? How do online groups/communities provide opportunities for sharing ideas? How do today’s writers, especially for those newly published or about to seek options in publication, benefit from building communities of virtual friends?

There are now thousands of online groups/communities a writer can join. Some are only available via membership in existing social media sites, such as Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Others are stand-alone groups that have their own websites and memberships but may also host a page on any of the other social media sites to attract and inform potential members and continue to post info to members regularly.

Then, there are the groups, chat rooms or fora one can join, lurk on and/or contribute to on Yahoo, KindleBoards, Smashwords, Bublish, Authonomy, Jukepop Serial, Wattpad, and probably hundreds more, Add to that specific professional sites’ groups, such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc., plus international groups and marketing sites and it makes one’s head spin.

If you are a blogger as well as a fiction writer, if you are a new and/or indie pub author or just one of millions who has no outside PR firm hired to market your books, you NEED groups/communities to get your “brand” known, find readers, attract followers and fans, get “pingbacks,” improve your ALEXA rating, your KLOUT or SNAP scores, get a Google Page Ranking for your website….

Don’t you?

How does a busy writer wade through all these opportunities to decide where to plant one’s online presence “flag” and still have time to write? The discerning writer who actually wants to protect your time and keep writing while marketing effectively can use these 10 criteria to choose your online memberships.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

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image from: http://www.tabularasa.com.au

DECIDE whether or not to:

1. PAY or stick with FREE memberships?
Some groups are free; some start out free or have a free level but change into/have paid memberships that provide additional services or opportunities to those who pay. If you have an unlimited budget or find yourself drawn to one or more of these groups and can afford it, go ahead and become a paid (upper-level) member. Some of these groups’ upper levels really do offer services to authors that are useful; some just say they do but when you read carefully, the “services” are not much more than occasional tweets.

Beware of those that over-promise, do not deliver, or are vague about what paid membership avails members of before paying. Research them: search for the group’s hashtag or tweet handle and then privately message someone [not the leader] about specific ways that being a paid member benefits him/her.

So far, the most I have paid to “belong” to any group or purchase any “marketing” service was $15 and it wasn’t worthwhile. If you do join a group and pay your fees or dues, make sure you’re getting what you pay for and only renew if it’s worth it: no automatic renewals!

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2. Participate in “review swaps”?
As a newbie desperate for reviews for seemingly invisible books, I found these groups to be so tempting. They seemed so supportive. They offer REVIEWS, sometimes in great quantity, sometimes with rankings and votes as well. But, free or not, these review “exchanges” come with several “prices,” and I personally decided the prices were too high.

For one, I am not comfortable providing pre-arranged and necessarily positive reviews (usually these swaps require/request a review rating of 4 or higher) for books I haven’t yet read in order to get the same for my own books (which the “reviewers” may or may not fully read). I “got into trouble” for daring to critique the books I read for being under-edited, overwritten, poorly constructed, badly plotted, shallow, etc.

Second, and much more chilling: if you join these groups and participate, you run the risk of having any or all of your reviews summarily removed from Amazon for not being inauthentic (some rightly so).

Third, some social media sites (Goodreads, for one) monitors members’ activities and sends messages to those members it believes are abusing the site, such as by “buying” or “trading” votes on Listopia, for example, or providing “fake” 5-star reviews to numerous members’ books. If you even get accused and especially when caught, you will discover that most sites’ TOS say they can suspend your account permanently and remove your books’ reviews, rankings, votes, etc., often with no warning and no recourse.

banned from Amazon

Although I joined some of these groups initially, I found out all of this later. Then, I removed myself within a few months of joining. I never paid to join.

If you are comfortable with the risks and conditions, go right ahead and participate.

3. Participate in Blog Hops and other “required” activities?
Some of these are great and worth doing. Others, not so much.

Look around, visit a few, comment, see what happens. THEN, decide.

4. Join a “Tweet” team or use group hashtags when posting?
This is highly recommended by some, disregarded by many. When someone posts nothing on Twitter but lists of others’ handles and the group’s hashtag, NO ONE CARES. Don’t do that.

But, if your group actually retweets, comments, replies, shares, ENGAGES with each others’ tweets or posts, that is worthwhile and those groups are worth joining.

5. Become a regular responder/poster or stay in the “shadows” (read/lurk but don’t comment, “LIKE,” +1 or post)?
I highly recommend lurking/reading many days’ or months’ worth of posts for some “Boards,” Communities or Groups before posting yourself. Get the “culture” of the group: the tone, the topics, the length, the repartee, the purposes. See if these resonate with you and your “brand” or style. If yes, go right ahead and join in the conversation. If not, move on.
Do not join a group to argue, criticize, lambast or attack.

Remember: the internet is “forever”: if you get into a “flame war,” readers/fans and publishers (and employers) can find it years later. Perhaps use a pseudonym for controversial posts.

Zooey Deschanel quote about trolls

6. Become a “help offered,” “help requested” or both type of participant?
You can become a resource to others on many sites (Quora, Ask an Expert, Reddit, etc.) or request help yourself.

Respect, assistance and expertise are admired. Whining, complaining, false information or bragging: not.

7. Join as yourself, your brand/books/website, your pseudonym?
EVERYTHING you post becomes part of your brand unless you use pseudonyms. The intentional and judicious use of pseudonyms is recommended, particularly if you write in vastly different genres (children’s books and erotica) or want to comment on controversial topics but not affect your brand.

If you become a “content curator,” offering information, help, creative/fun posts, and these are consistent (or at least not contradictory) with your brand, go for it! Join groups and comment/post frequently as yourself. Get to know/be known by the members, become a fan /follower of theirs.

I belong to several groups whose members and I are becoming virtual friends. We support each other’s efforts.

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image from: http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com

These are the groups worth joining and continuing to be active in and are valuable even when you have little time. If you comment here with one of yours, I’ll share some of mine!

Dump the rest.

8. Join any genre-specific or topic-specific groups?
If you are a “genre” writer, then, YES: join one or more of these groups.

I belong to sci-fi, romance, paranormal, ebooks, indie pub, fantasy, “clean” indie, female-oriented, YA, speculative fiction, blogger, author, writer, marketing, science, tech, G+ HOA help and many other groups that I interact with, enjoy and learn from weekly.

Be sure to read and follow each group’s posting guidelines carefully to avoid getting disliked, kicked out or otherwise censored.

9. Offer any giveaways, have contests, provide guest spots yourself?
If you have print books or swag, go right ahead and offer it/them. I highly recommend that you think of what you have to offer and start offering (e.g., free PDFs of writing tips, samples of your writing, free passes, discount coupons) whenever you can.

I have a blog (http://www.sallyember.com/blog) and an almost-weekly Google+ Hangout On Air (CHANGES HOA), so I can and do offer guest blog opportunities and guest starring spots. If you’d like to propose a guest blog topic and date and/or be on CHANGES, get in touch with me here: sallyember@yahoo.com

I am also a series ebooks novelist, so I offer the first book in The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as “permafree,” which is highly recommended for newbies to do, once we have subsequent books for sale.

When you are doing many other types of writing and interacting regularly with several online groups/communities, you can occasionally plug your own books! Like, NOW!

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10. Enter any contests or pay for reviews or marketing?

When a group’s entire purpose is to further its own ends and fill its coffers with entry fees, service charges, etc., these make me suspicious. But, I am naturally cynical.

I decided early on not to pay to enter any writing contests, not to pay for reviews, not to pay for “members’ services” and mostly not to pay for marketing. These are my decisions and not everyone agrees with them.

Some individuals offer a combination of free and for sale services/marketing, so you can decide which you want to participate in/join. I have met several great people and had excellent experiences in some groups in this way: I participated in their free activities and then did not continue when the next steps required payment since I couldn’t afford or did not need those services at that point. I do give these “helpers” regular “shout-outs” and thank them publicly for all they do/have done, actions which I hope make up for my lack of financial support to them.

The professionals left me alone when I asked them to do so. The ones who wouldn’t stop emailing and kept on when I asked them to stop or when I told them I wasn’t buying got relegated to spam and ignored.

You have to decide for yourself. However, if you are considering paying for any of these, please research the contest, reviewers, PR person, etc., thoroughly.

Writing Community

It’s bad enough not to win or not to get what you paid for; it’s worse when you’ve paid a lot. BEWARE!

If/when you find groups worth joining, please comment about them here.

Best of luck to you all!

#Feedback please: What is my #brand?

#Feedback please: What is my #brand as an #author of The Spanners Series ebooks, talk-show host (CHANGES) and #blogger?

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image from http://www.booksandsuch.com

Labels, adjectives, phrases, experiences all welcomed! How do you know me? How well? Where do we usually cross paths? How do we interact?

Send to sallyember AT yahoo DOT com and/or leave your impressions in COMMENTS, here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

All part of the “30-Day Podcasting Challenge” exercises, which start today, 1/19/15:
http://podcastingsuccesssecrets.com/

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Thanks!

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image from http://www.bookcovercafe.com