Tag Archives: Blogs

The Need for Farsightedness

A Diary of Writing Wisdom (and other nonsense)

#FOUR

The Need for Farsightedness

Human beings are naturally shortsighted. The current opinions are the ones we see in front of us, the ones that are discussed in current magazines and on social media. It is natural to concentrate on current trends and hot topics. But there are two disadvantages in doing so. One is that we fail to learn from the past; the other is that we fail to look to the future.

Interestingly, these two forms of shortsightedness are connected, for one of the clearest lessons we learn from the past is that the “normal” of one generation is out-of-date in the next. In theory this is not hard to accept. At one time or another we have all read books/excerpts from articles written many centuries ago and smiled at the quaintness of the ideas and the language contained therein; and we realize that our own generation would be unique were it not for the fact that it will appear equally quaint in years to come.

I wonder, for instance, what our descendants will think of the Zombie Apocalypse theory or of stem-cell research. It is difficult for us to see it as future generations are likely to see it. Robert Burns once prayed for the gift to see ourselves as others see us. It would be an even greater gift to see ourselves as people in the 23rd Century will see us.

When it comes to writing, don’t be too shortsighted. Learn from your past. Don’t just let it lay dormant. Incorporate what you’ve learned from the past into your script of today. Believe it or not, this looking-back approach can help writer’s generate even greater power to look ahead. It can help writer’s ignore the temptation to write only about current trends and hot topics. It can even help writers become less shortsighted and more farsighted—nearby distractions become blurry while the ability to see distant goals and objectives become more and more clear.

OC Maryland-001Ocean City, MD, 2014. 

Excuse the mess . . . LWI is changing.

You might notice that we’re doing some construction work here on the site. It won’t take long . . . I hope.

Ronovan

Book Deal: Global Voices of Social Media: 25 Women Share Stories of Strength, Love and Triumph

Friend to Authors everywhere, Annette Rochelle Aben who has interviewed not only myself but LWI authors as well is one of the:

Global Voices of Social Media: 25 Women Share Stories of Strength, Love and Triumph

#1 

Best Selling

global-voices

I bought mine.

It’s $.99.

http://www.amazon.com/Global-Voices-Social-Media-Strength-ebook/dp/B00U3H5LPY/ref=zg_bs_156564011_4

 

 

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Author Presence: Putting your Blog Theme in Place.

Author Presence: Putting your Theme in Place.

Last time we met it was choosing your Theme for your blog. Let’s say you looked at the links I gave you and you picked one out. I’m going with the Coraline Theme for my example Blog. One of the things we might do today is install the About.me Widget, so go ahead and log into your About.me account in another Tab or Window. This isn’t a must today but I am going to cover it.

You are going to actually pick your blog and activate it on your blog today and chose the layout. All very simple.

  • Log into your WordPress.com Blog.
  • Click My Sites
  • Click The Gear on the top right of the image of your blog
  • Click Go to Admin Dashboard

Now you will see a long list of words on the left side. If you take a moment you will be able to do some common sense figuring out of things. For now, since we are going to actually pick out your Theme and apply it to your blog, we are going to change the Appearance of your Blog.

So guess which of those words we are going to click on?

Yep-Appearance.

Technically you don’t have to click on it, but instead just place the cursor over it and it will show your options, but either way works.

Click Themes

Now you are going to want to Search for your Theme.

On the Right side click Free. Now there is normally a Search field here, if not, you can do the search function on your computer, or simply scroll down until you find your Theme. I am going to choose Coraline.

Once I find it, I will place my cursor over it and click Activate.

I click the x at this point because I don’t want to Customize, which means things like Add a Header Photo.

Right now I want to choose the layout. Each Theme has at least one layout. If it has more than one option, then you will see under Appearance something called Theme Options.

For Coraline click Theme Options.

I’m not worried about that Color Scheme yet that is at the top of the screen. What I want is to take a look at the Default Layout. I can’t tell you which one to go with for certain here as you will want to pick your own flavor.

  • But I am going to choose the one that says Sidebar-Content. That means my Sidebar will be on the left and my Content, that is my posts/articles will be on the right.
  • Then I click Save Options.

Now you want to see what it looks like, right?

Look at the top left of your screen and you will see the name of your Blog. Mine says Ronovan Author. Click it. Now if you are in Coraline you will see some things already in your Sidebar. Don’t worry, you will be putting your own things in there but what’s in there at the moment is just fine.

Now you have a choice to make. You can do one of about four things right now:

  • Put a Header Photo in
  • Put your About.me Widget in
  • Write a post
  • Or really if you have had enough for the day, just stop. This post will be here tomorrow as well as the next day.

I think most people go straight for that Header Photo. Yes, that image is important, but I say let’s go with the About.me Widget. After all that time we worked on them, and even put possibly two images in there already, let’s put them to use. You are your image. Period.

Again we are back at the Dashboard and under the Appearance toward the bottom, right where we just left from. In fact you could click the back arrow on your browser to get there.

Once there you want to click on Widget that appears after you click on Appearance or hover over it with your cursor.

The About.me Widget is the easiest to find. Why? Because they are alphabetical. Yes, it’s the first one you come to. In the Coraline Theme on the right side I have Seven Widget Areas. I am only concerned with the Primary Widget Area right now.

  • Click on the About.me Widget.
  • Primary Widget Area is already selected so all you have to do is click Add Widget.

Under your Primary Widget Area on the Right your About.me Widget has appeared with a lot of information in it.

  • The ‘Your about.me URL’ is what you are looking at right now. Notice most of it is already filled out.
  • I know mine is Ronovan. So I just need to type that in. So log in to your About.me account and see what name shows up. Really it might say Home, but click on your name in the top right and edit and the name should appear in the URL.
  • Put that name in and click Save. Now let’s go see what it looks like.

Now all of that stuff that was there before is gone. Your image is there along with your bio and your Social Media Apps Buttons. Think about all you’ve done with this one Widget.

Not all of that information has to be shown. Back in that Widget area you can always go in and uncheck the boxes you don’t want to appear. If you keep your Bio up on your About.me Widget then you might not need the About page at the top of your Header Photo. The About page is one of the most popular spots on my personal Blog. Why do I not show my Bio from my About.me account? Because it takes up a lot of Sidebar space I use for other things. But if you are a minimalist in that regards do what you like. I am just going to show you what is possible.

Well that’s all for today.

See y’all next time.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

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Author Presence: Choosing a Theme for your Author Blog

Author Presence: Choosing a Theme for your Author Blog

The last article talked about Creating a Blog as in just getting your name set, and your Twitter Bio. The Creating a Blog part is pretty important as today we begin to look at Themes for our Blog. Yes, I said OUR blog. I am creating one right along with you.

“What is a Theme and why is it important that I pick any certain Theme?”

The Theme is the layout of your blog and the options you have. You can look at LitWorldInterviews and then  compare it to RonovanWrites.

You will notice first that LWI does not have a Header Photo but RW does, the typewriter. Also LWI has a slider image option where you see the most recently interviewed Authors scroll by like a slide show. RW does not have this feature. The RW Theme is the Coraline Theme. This a good option for an Author.

The Coraline Theme gives you the option for different side bar layouts. It also has footer areas for Widgets, and you can even make the background to your text area transparent so if you have some image in the background you can have the words appear on top of it. Not really my preference but it is an option if you were doing some special event. So you have a lot of flexibility with this them. Click Here to see the details of the Theme and if you scroll to the bottom you can see other blogs that use it.

The Twenty Fourteen Theme is used by one of our resident Authors, PS Bartlett. Click Here to see it in action. I’ve played around with the Theme but not to the success that this site has going for it. Okay, so I haven’t played with it THAT much. I don’t know if there has been any premium upgrades made. It’s a nice layout and looks good. This looks like a professional site.  She has made her landing page, her first page you go to on the site be about her. That’s fine. Many site owners do that. It’s all a matter of preference. Click Here to see the details of the Theme and scroll down for other blogs that use it.

The Mystique Theme is one I used for the longest time on RonovanWrites until I just wanted a change. I set it up on my RonovanRants site, a site that I haven’t really done anything with as of yet. You will notice that the header does not have a photo, you can have one or not. There are different layouts for the sidebar . I put it here as the right and put some widgets in the footer areas. A friend is looking at changing up their Author site and this was an example I gave them. They wanted something that did not appear cluttered. I advised for the About.me widget to be in the sidebar, possibly along with the Mystique Tabbed Widget which is at the bottom in a footer on the right. This makes for a clean look, with a slightly different background feel to it. If you have a book cover or a series of books this might be very nice. Basically Mystique is another versatile theme. Click Here to check out the details and other sites using it.

These are just three Themes you can choose from. This is the beginning of your journey. Some like to say they want a simple, clean and minimalist Theme. Okay, I get that. But you know what? Why not have a Theme that can be simple but can also give you flexibility in the future? Why do I say that? If you change from one Theme to another Theme you will often have to rebuild all of your Widget areas and do some other customizing. What I have done is found a Theme for my own personal use that I can change around any time I want, it will look different, and I don’t have to fix things all the time. And yes, sometimes variety and change is good when you’ve had a site for a while and you want to wake up your fans. Just make it easy for you to do it.

That’s why I go with the Coraline Theme. For the purpose of this exercise that is the Theme I will use. You don’t have to do that. You can choose what you like and apply what we do moving forward to it.

For the next time you will want to have an image for your Header Photo ready. That would be like the typewriter on my RonovanWrites site. One thing I did was make it so I did not need a Header Text Line by putting the name of my Blog on the Header Photo itself. The dimensions you need are 990×180 pixels.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Author Presence: Gravatar.com

Author Presence: Gravatar.com

You have a blog. Either a well established or at least one set up with things on it, or you just did it recently with me. Now let’s get your Gravatar. Gravatar.com is a site that you put an image on, as well as other information, that will be used on WordPress.com when you post articles or comment on other peoples articles. And yes, you will be commenting.  So don’t give me that look or attitude. One thing about WordPress.com is that it has a great author/writing community that supports one another.

When you log into Gravatar.com it will basically tell you that you need a WordPress.com blog/account. Now you see why I had you go ahead and just get that out of the way. Now for some things to do that are similar to what you die with About.me.

So you have gone to Gravatar.com and clicked on Create Your Own Gravatar. Now let’s look at the places to go and see here.

My Gravatars

Manage Gravatars

You want to add an image to your Gravatars that you will be seen as around WordPress and other sites that use Gravatar. So think professional. Even if it is a fun photo, make it something universally acceptable. Anyone seeing this is a potential book buyer. More than likely if you look below the blue box that has your email address in it you will see a line beginning with Whoops. At the end of that line it says Add one by clicking here! Click.

You have four options to load a photo from.

  • My computer’s hard drive
  • An image on the internet
  • A previously uploaded image
  • A webcam attached to your computer

Choose your poison.

Whatever you choose you will probably get the page that says crop and finish. Do that, and the next page you rate your photograph as appropriate for whatever age. Now you should be back at the Manage Gravatars page. Your image should be next to your email.

Now for the

My Profile Page

Name and Details

Here you find all the basics like your name, location, display name, and About Me (Think Bio.)

For the Display name it will show whatever your site name is at first, like mine shows ronovanauthor. I will change it to Ronovan Author. As for the About Me part, what I like to do is use something from my About.me account. This way there is some uniformity across all the places that has Bio information about me.

Now you really only fill out as much as you want here. And you put in what you like.

Click Save Profile

You will notice on the right side of this page some options.

Photo Gallery-Yes, you can add more photos.

Websites-You can add your various website address, such as About.me, facebook, Twitter, any other blogs, GoodReads, Tumblr, Google+. You name you got it you put it. Everywhere a person can find you put where else they can find you.

Background-Yes you can load a background image, just like at About.me.

Contact Information-You can put in whatever form of contact you want people to use. Still it’s a good place to go ahead and put what you like.

Verified Services-You can add links to other places like Youtube and the like. (See the Help at the top for details.)

Cyrpto-currencies-You put in your wallet addresses. I don’t do these so not that familiar with them. (See the Help at the top for details.)

 

You might be thinking how this seems like a lot of STUFF by now. Well you don’t have to do it all at once, because for one thing you don’t have it all. Basically getting that image in there and your name right is good for now AND adding your blog address to the Websites option. You simply go in there, click what you want and you got it. One of my pet peeves is when a person has Gravatar and you see they make great comments on your blog or another blog and you want to check out their own blog. You click their image and no blog there. Sometimes they don’t have one. But most times they never put their blog in the Websites page.

 

This isn’t hard so far, right? Tedious? Maybe because of repeating some information. But you want to have everything in place and ready to go when your book is ready to go.

 

Until Next Time

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Authors-Set Up your Web Presence.

One of the first things you will find out as an Author is that YOU ARE YOUR ADVERTISING. Agents and Publishers look at what your presence is online and how you are selling yourself. Don’t be offended at that word. Use the word marketing if you like.

The point is, you have to get attention in order to get attention. As soon as you realize you want to be an author start marketing. What are things you need to do?

Establishing your Network/Platform or whatever you want to call it.

Professionals will tell you to focus focus focus. Focus your energy on two or three media outlets and that’s it. Okay, I somewhat agree.

Today let’s talk about three of them:

  • Blog
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

What’s the best way to control your presence, your marketing, your portfolio and establish a home where everyone knows your name? You got it . . .

Your Blog

Some of you are freaking out. Don’t. You want to know why?

  • Blogs are free unless you want some super upgrade things
  • You only put on a blog what you want to
  • You can delete anything on your blog you don’t like

Why should you have a blog?

Let’s go ahead and establish first that you should go ahead and use your pen name as your blog address or URL. Blog address? Yes, that’s the http://www.whatever.com thing you type. The Title of your blog can be anything else. Like I could change the Title of this site to The Literary World of Interviews. It will change nothing in the way of how you find this site. But I prefer for the name of the site to be the same as the address, the URL address. Being the same is less confusing. And by being your name it will be easy to find you and it’s professional. You can also use the name of your book series. A friend of mine and her family have written a series, the second is out now. The trilogy is called The Seeds Trilogy and their site is very nice. It gives character profiles and a lot of things to help you really get into the atmosphere of the books. One of our Authors, PS Barlett has a nice Author Blog as well.

Your Blog, your official Author site should be professional. It should contain your work and the image you wish to project. Keep the unprofessional things off of there unless you just don’t care. I am not saying don’t have fun and share fun things, I am just saying be professional about what you post.

A Blog is also your central hub that all of your other social media spin off of.

That brings us to . . .

Twitter

I know you probably just don’t even want to think about it. It’s some alien monster beast that you don’t understand that speaks in hashtagonese but it’s easier than you think. And to be honest, you don’t have to do that much with it at first to get started. You can even connect it to your blog, very easily, and then everything you post on your blog would have a link to it sent to Twitter.

How important is Twitter to a literary type blog person? For this site, LWI, historically since it began the number one place we get people to come visit us from as of this writing is Twitter then WordPress Reader, Search Engines and Facebook. They are all very close in number but those are the top four. And those are the four ways I expect it to be at this moment. We have some great affiliated blogs that we receive quite a bit of traffic from as well.

Don’t just tweet about your books and your work. Tweet fun things, jokes, links to videos, interesting articles, anything. Also keep your image in mind. You don’t want to come off as some immature, racist, sexist punk. I apologize to you immature, racist, sexist punk Authors out there, you can tweet what you like. If you tweet just things about your work, you will lose people, followers. Look at Neil Gaiman. He has a great Twitter feed. He mentions other authors and even tweets funny things along with his work. His are some of the most humorous and window into his world tweets I have seen and it allows his followers to connect with him.

Facebook

Facebook, in all honesty, is not what it used to be but it is still worth the effort to have an Author page. You can also set anything you post on your Author page to go to Twitter as well. You can so things on facebook such as launch parties and you can even use it much like Twitter now with the use of hashtags. In case you are not familiar with hashtags that is when you see something like #FreeBooks or #LitWorldInterviews. You just put # in front of a uninterrupted series of words or word. And you are not limited to 140 characters as you are on Twitter, although, when/if your facebook post does go to Twitter the 14o characters does become a factor so your message will be chopped if it goes long. I let mine be chopped. I just put my hashtags at the beginning or in the message itself.

Facebook is where, if you have a blog, you want to post other things. You can still post your work. I put links to things on my blog on mine. But I also do videos, little joke images, or sometimes I will do poetry that I only post on facebook. I put things you would only see if you followed me on facebook. Again, not a difficult thing to do.

 

Believe it or not, you can schedule things to post on each of these media outlets. You can spend a couple of hours and set up a post a day or three posts for the week on your blog, if it takes that long. Tweets can be done the same, and facebook as well. You don’t have to be there and be active all the time, but you do want to respond to people who might comment to you. That’s up to you though. But fans do like some acknowledgement at times.

I will be getting into each of these in detail in separate articles, but for now I would advise anyone reading this that has even the remotest thought of becoming an author to go ahead and set these up. It does no harm. Go ahead and do it. I use WordPress.com for blogging. It’s free and very easy. I’ve tried others and this one really seems the easiest to me so far. It might just be a preference but I do like it, plus WordPress has a great Author community that really does support one another. You want proof? You’re reading the proof now. Authors united to help other authors and to promote their work. That’s right, we want everyone to be a success.

 

Until Next Time

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

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Basics for Linking up with Readers.

Being a success: It’s not all about your writing.

These days to be a successful author you have to be more than just a great writer. You have to be savvy about the ways of marketing and social networking. I can feel the cringe vibrate from your keyboard to mine. But how do you think you found this article if you didn’t have some bit of that working for you already or me either?

 

Today I just want to discuss a couple or few basics.

 

As I look for people to interview some of the things I remind bloggers of keep coming up with authors. After fall, aren’t we writers/authors bloggers of a sort as well?

 

Broken links:

They happen to us all. You’ve clicked one and it takes you nowhere. Imagine as I am clicking a link on someone’s Twitter profile to get information about them to approach them for an interview and I get the error message that the page can’t be found. I am a guy wanting to help authors out and simply wanting to see more information. But that also means I am acting as a fan and wanting to look at information about people I think fans want to learn about.

 

So imagine that if it is a fan, they see your great header photo that looks way cool, you have an amazing and very professional profile head shot and then . . . the Click of Doom. Some might search the internet or I might personally search Amazon, but this is like being at the checkout line at the grocery store and you see all the candy and the little things. That’s right . . . This is Impulse Clicking you just gave them the empty box of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. Will they search, will I go to Amazon, will we step out of the checkout line for you? Would you for us?

 

 

No Links:

What’s worse than a Broken Link, maybe no way to connect at all? You have a great site that you’ve set up but you haven’t put it out there on you various connections for people to see. You don’t have it on Twitter, you don’t have it in your email signature. You don’t have it anywhere! No matter who you are or what your fame is, you are your best advertising and you are the only one you can always count on 100% of the time. So if you fail yourself, how can you count on anyone else?

 

 

Nothing to Link To:

You need a site of some type to link to. This sounds a lot like the No Links point but there is a difference in not noting your links and not having anything to link to. There are free platforms all over the internet. I personally have a ‘Blogger’ account at blogspot,com and of course my main one is here at WordPress.com, and I am branching out as I explore more and more platforms to discover what is best. For me personally, I recommend WordPress. Perhaps I like WordPress because I am simply accustomed to it, but it is an easy platform and you can get involved in a good community. Writers tend to support each other a great deal on WordPress in giving ‘shout outs’ about each other.

 

I will be putting together a ‘How To’ of creating an author blog/site very soon. Each person here at LitWorldInterviews (LWI) has their own particular talents. We all enjoy writing. We are all at different stages of our writing careers. My other talent is an enjoyment of how to make friendly or professional looking sites and getting your name out in the public. You will be seeing the LWI site change very, very soon as it has grown into something more than I thought it might be at first.

 

One thing to Remember:

Don’t spread your focus too thin. Give your attention to two, maybe three outlets. A blog, a social network (I use Twitter), and one other thing, perhaps facebook or Google+. I know people think of facebook as a social thing but a lot use it as their primary author page. I still use more than three but only because I have them built in. Which you can too and I will be showing you how.

 

Until Next Time,

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

Ronovan

 

 

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