Tag Archives: How To

What do you want in a Book Review?

Book Reviewing is one of the main things we do here on LitWorldInterviews. So much so, that at one time or other most of us write about them. We write about the importance of them, how to do them, where to find people to do them, and the list goes on.

Most of the time the idea of Book Reviews is looking at it from the point of the author or how to relay helpful information for the author. Today I want to change it up a little.

Today we’ll talk about the Amazon Book Review, or the B&N Book Review. Sites that sell books, not sites that are for people digging for in depth analysis of a book, not that you get that from me.

My belief is regardless of which type of review you do, there is a golden rule to follow; don’t give spoilers. I don’t even care if you mention ahead of time that a spoiler is coming up, I don’t believe it needs to be out there. I do believe in trigger warnings. That’s fine. If you have a book advertising itself as a humorous cozy mystery and you find some type of assault against a woman or children, I say trigger alert away.

Now for the Book Seller Site Reviews. What is the normal person surfing through Amazon looking for? What are the first two things that catch their eye about a book?

That’s right: the Book Title, and Book Cover.

I know when I see a title I then see the cover and if still interested I go to the description or price next. Then I go to the reviews. If you want to know the truth, if the book has a lot of reviews and I see the percentage of 5 and 4 star reviews are high, I may not even read the reviews, unless the price is pushing my thrifty nature a bit.

Now I’m at the reviews. What do I want to know?

Enjoyment Factor is what I want to know.

  • Did they enjoy reading the book overall?
  • Was there anything in the book that took away from the enjoyment?
  • Did it deliver what it said it would?

Notice I didn’t mention unfavorable comparisons to other authors, long diatribes of things hoped for, or saying the author is the worst ever. There was mention of showing of a literature degree.

So what’s the difference in the writing of a review site review and an Amazon review?

If I came across a book I didn’t like, and the author asked me to post the review regardless of my score, I would keep in mind what needs said for the book buyer to make a decision. The more detailed version, if an unfavorable review, would go directly to the author in an email. On the site here, I would put detail as well, but still keep in mind not to rip the author apart. There might be several paragraphs explaining why I didn’t like the book.

Here is what I might say about a book I didn’t like on Amazon, if I dared put such a review on there. I doubt I would even if the author asked me to put it on there.

2 Stars

“The books idea seemed to be a good one from the description, but for me, it just didn’t come through in the actual story itself. I liked the main character most of the time, but there were inconsistencies that didn’t make sense to me within the given storyline, maybe in a sequel? What seemed to be important subplots never played out or ended up later contradicted with other plots. I’m not sure if this was intentional or oversight. It felt to me as though the author was so excited to get the book into our hands, they raced to the finish line when a little more time would have made a much better finished product. I’m not sure I would read it a second time in its current edition.”

What the review means.

“The author’s story does not match the excitement or intrigue of book description given. The main character is not well developed. In addition, the main character is like reading a confused jumble of ideas that never comes together for any reason. Maybe the author kept changing their mind during the writing and didn’t go back to edit for character continuity. Important subplots are left behind and ignored, as if the author completely forgets he ever wrote about them, and that makes for irritating points later that didn’t match up. It feels to me the book was rushed to market without being properly proofread and edited, which is what a customer is paying for. I would not recommend this book to anyone.”

Why do I not say the second review in an Amazon review?

There are a number of people involved in getting a manuscript to book form. It’s not only the author or authors. You also have proofreaders, editors, and publishers. An author cannot wholly depend on their own judgement about their baby. With my book, co-authored with PS Bartlett, we had each other to look to for any problems that came up and to push each other forward. That did not stop us from going to beta-readers, to test the story out. Then we took suggestions and made some edits. Then PS Bartlett sent it to her editor she’s worked with on some of her previous books.

Does all of that make for a perfect book? No. There is no such thing as a perfect book, but through that time taken, you can end up with a very enjoyable read.

What an author does is realize a book will never be good enough in his or her own eyes, and must trust others to help push them forward. Books I’ve written, that haven’t seen the light of a Kindle screen yet, are those I haven’t trusted to the eyes of beta-readers because I am not happy with them. In other words, I need someone to push me forward, but I don’t have a person on premises that does that, that encourages and nudges me forward. With the reviews coming out for Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, I’m getting the confidence I need to move ahead with the more than a dozen books I’ve written.

Now do you see how important a properly written review is? The first review tells a reader that they may not want to read this, warns them there are problems. At the same time, it doesn’t destroy confidence in the writer because they realize they have something there, but they need to work on it longer and take time. They need help getting it in a polished state.

Everything we write has an effect somewhere along the way. We may think we are being funny at times when we hit publish or submit, but the truth is, we could be doing more damage than good. Be honest, but be professional at the same time, even in an Amazon review. Help, not hinder.

As a Reader or as an Author, what do you want in an Amazon Review? Share for others to know. Maybe I’ll compile the results in a future article.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by Ronovan Hester 2016

Dialogue Tags, Beats, and More. Are you using the right one?

As some of you know, I host a Fiction writing challenge on Fridays here on Ronovan Writes. It’s funny how I use Ronovan Writes as if it’s not me. Sometimes I shorten it to RW. That has nothing to do with this article, merely an aside.

Dialogue Tags and More by Ronovan Hester



One of the goals of the Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes is to improve the writing of those who participate. At the moment my goal with the challenge is to encourage the improvement of the basics of writing Fiction. Some problems I see, not just in a few challenge entries, but in books I review, are the use of Dialogue Tags, Action Beats, and Dialogue Punctuation. Also today I’ll introduce some of you to Grammarly.

This piece today is not just for those doing the challenge. This is for anyone who:

  • Writes.
  • Writes short stories
  • Writes novellas, or novels.

What I have here will help you. For some of you it will be a reminder.


Let’s begin with Dialogue Tags. A Dialogue Tag is when you have a speaker identified along with the dialogue and a word such as ‘said’.

Example: “The dog jumped the fence,” Bob said. OR Bob said, “The dog jumped the fence.”

Example: “Did the dog jump the fence?” Sally asked.

Notice there are words used to show what kind of speaking Bob and Sally are doing. Let’s change one to see what happens.

“The dog jumped the fence.” Bob pointed to Fido racing across the field after the sheep.

We know who is speaking here, Bob because he is the only one mentioned and he is doing an action associated with the act of seeing the dog jump the fence. Now let’s see what happens with Sally.

“Did the dog jump the fence?” Sally pointed to Fido racing across the field after the sheep.

You’ll run into some people who despise Dialogue Tags, regardless of the situation. They would like you to use something like an Action Beat instead. What are Action Beats? An Action Beat is the actions taking place between the dialogues. The two examples above with Bob and Sally pointing are Action Beats. Notice there was no mention of the people speaking. You assumed who was speaking.

My personal opinion is you need a combination of Beats and Tags and nothing at all. Sticking to one and one tool only, in my opinion, would be boring.

Let’s take a look at passage using all three tools.

Example with Dialogue Tags and Action Beats.

“This class is crazy.” Billy ducked the dark rectangular object on its way toward his head.
Larry picked up the weapon, marker dust covered his hand. He threw the eraser back at the offender. “We’re not playing! Find someone else!”
“Thanks, Larry.” Billy’s muffled voice came from the floor.
“You can get up now, Billy.”
“Do you think Ms. Willett will be mad when she sees what they did to her notes on the board?”
“If I were you, I’d be reading a book when she comes in. Act as innocence as possible.”
“Will that work?”
“Did last year. This is my second year in the class. I failed by a point last time. She’s tough. They don’t call her hard butt because she works out so much.”
Billy laughed, and said, “Either way she’s my favorite teacher.”

The above is not the best example, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about. I used one dialogue tag, and then only to keep the reader on track. I didn’t want to throw in lots of Action Beats. Action Beats work great, but can be overdone.
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Then you might have a passage with only Dialogue Tags.

All Dialogue Tags:

“This class is crazy,” Billy said and ducked the dark rectangular object on its way toward his head.
“We’re not playing! Find someone else!” Larry said.
“Thanks, Larry,” Billy said.
“You can get up now, Billy,” Larry said.
“Do you think Ms. Willett will be mad when she sees what they did to her notes on the board?” Billy asked.
“If I were you, I’d be reading a book when she comes in. Act as innocence as possible,” Larry said.
“Will that work?” Billy asked.
“Did last year. This is my second year in the class. I failed by a point last time. She’s tough. They don’t call her hard butt because she works out so much,” Larry said.
“Either way she’s my favorite teacher,” Billy said.
How boring is that? Annoying? Except for the exclamation marks for Larry there is no personality or life to the scene. Now you see why you use dialogue tags as little as possible. You also use Action Beats only when you need to. Of course you can pep up the dialogue itself and accomplish a lot.
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One thing you need to do when writing is, give each character a distinctive voice. I always try to do that in every story I write. One character might speak in short sentences, another in long. This guy doesn’t use contractions, this guy uses them even when they don’t exist.

By giving distinctive voices, you can have a conversation without a lot of tags or beats. Beats are good. You do need them. However, if you can get as much as possible across in your dialogue you are a long way to being a success.

No Dialogue Tags and No Action Beats.

“Billy, duck!”
“These people are insane. That could’ve hit me in the eye. Thanks Larry.”
“We’re not playing! Find someone else!”
“Ooo, you nailed him with that eraser.”
“He shouldn’t’ve thrown it in the first place. Uh, Billy?”
“Yeah?”
“Stop hiding.”
“Oh, yeah. Thanks. Do you think Ms. Willett will be mad when she sees what they did to her notes on the board?”
“Put it this way, if I were you, I’d be reading a book when she comes in. Act like an angel.”
“Will that work? This place is a disaster area. There is no way she will think we didn’t do some of this.”
“Worked last year.”
“Last year?”
“Uh, Billy, I’m a year older than you, remember? I failed by one point last time. But as bad as my grades were, I never got in trouble with Ms. Willett.”
“Larry, you’re always getting into trouble.”
“I know, but every time something happened, I stuck my nose in a book. She’s tough but fair. They don’t call her hard—”
“Larry!”
“Okay, they don’t call her hard ‘butt’ because of how much she works out.”
“I don’t care why they call her that, she’s my favorite teacher.”
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Along with dialogue, one thing I notice in books I read and blogs I read is Dialogue Punctuation. I’ll only mention one form of punctuation at this time.

I’ll also make this as simple as I can. Where does the comma go?

Example: “The dog jumped the fence,” Bob said. OR Bob said, “The dog jumped the fence.”

In dialogue, we all know to use the quotation marks around the speech, the dialogue. Where does the comma go? Yes, there is a comma in most dialogue IF there is a normal expression of speech. Look at the example above. There is no exclamation nor a question mark, therefore you put a comma inside the quotation mark.

If you have an exclamation or question mark, then put the mark and close with the quotation, no comma is required.

Example: “The dog jumped the fence!” Bob said.

Example: “Did the dog jump the fence?” Sally asked.

No comma was required in the examples above.

You can do away with commas by not using Dialogue Tags and sticking with Action Beats. Yawn. Okay, not really yawn, if done correctly. When you have a scene with two people conversing, you can easily do away with Dialogue Tags and stick with Action Beats and no manner of denoting who is speaking at all based on the rhythm of the exchange.
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Grammar and Spelling

For those without Word to help catch spelling and grammar errors, I have a suggestion for you. However, first if you do have Word, I’m going to refer you to Using Proofing To Help Your Fiction Diction & More!, for how you can make the most of Word

Another TOOL to use, if you don’t have Word is Grammarly.com. It can be used inside of WordPress or any place you type, even comments on blogs. Also, they have a FREE version, which I use.
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If you found this helpful, you may also enjoy:

UNDERSTAND THE TOOLS OF YOUR TRADE by Jo Robinson of any of Jo’s articles on Self-Publishing by clicking HERE.

HOW TO AVOID MANUSCRIPT MENTAL FATIGUE. by Ronovan Hester.



Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in February 14, 2016. He shares his life through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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@RonovanWrites

© Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2016

10 Writing Commitments for 2016 (Guest Post by Author Claire Fullerton)

Commit to being a Full-Time Writer.

Silence Can Be Golden by @JERoyle

A Diary of Writing Wisdom (and other nonsense)

#TWO

 Silence Can Be Golden

Gettysburg, PA ,

Most literary criticism is concerned with what authors write.  The idea of strategically using silence in your writing, by contrast, is concerned not so much with what authors write as it is with what they do not write.

When it comes to writing a book, here are a couple of questions every author should consider:  Is it sometimes better to leave things a little open ended?  Or should you absolutely, every single time, try your best to describe every tiny detail your vivid imagination can divulge?  Do you leave room for your reader’s imagination to have a life of it’s own?  Or are you, perhaps, limiting the imagination of your reader by over doing it?  Do you have adjective-itis?

 “The dog did nothing in the nighttime.”

“That was the curious thing,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

The main weakness about this idea that silence can be golden, of course, is that it fails to take into account the way books are actually written—with adjectives.  But when is enough enough?  That’s the real question to consider.

Below is a six word story I recently entered in a contest:

The dawn.  The pilgrimage.  The dust.

What comes to mind when you think of the dawn?  Awakening?  A new day?  Who woke-up?  A teenager?  A married couple?   Whoever/whatever it was inspired a pilgrimage.  What kind of pilgrimage?  Spiritual?  Adventuresome?  Why dust?  You get the idea.

So the next time you want to include more because you feel a strong urge to tell your readers more about how Smith furrowed his brow and glared with genuine distrust at his shimmering spoonful of crimson colored magic tonic—NyQuil—force yourself to leave out the extra things you think you should include.

There will be plenty of opportunity in your book for you to write more—but sometimes less is the golden rule you should follow.

Jason Royle

Judas Hero Misunderstood

 

 

 

 

© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015

 

Authors, Wake Up and Get to Work!

wake-up

Before you authors run away because I’m talking about a marketing idea today. Don’t. You blew that one off with another author’s post recently and missed out on a very good, very easy opportunity. We write about things like book covers and formatting and you eat it up but anything that ventures in to the area of the dreaded world of promotion you run like conservative and a tree hugger festival.

I have eleven years experience in marketing. My interest in helping promote authors is not one that is some half wit idea without some thought given. I’ve done articles about authors needing social media presence for a reason. Articles about getting your book description right on Amazon have come up, with little attention by readers.

“Why does my great book about blah blah blah not sell?” Because your book description says a boy and his dog set off on an adventure across the country. That it, nothing else.

Back to marketing. How do you get people to buy your books? Advertising? No.

There are two ways; Word of Mouth and Word of Your Mouth

Word of Mouth

This is how most books get around. People to friends. Those friends could be face to face friends (f-f) or online community friends (OCF). Regardless of which, they are among people that know each other and are liable to listen. Send me an Amazon email with that list of books and I am more than likely not going to bother.

Word of Your Mouth

And here is why I’m writing this today. Jo Robinson wrote a great article How to Create Downloadable Links to Give Away Books from your Newsletter Sign Up  In it she discusses exactly what the title says. But there is something she mentions that might be missed. And it was missed by a lot of people because for some reason this article didn’t get the massive response a Jo Robinson article normally does. Why? I won’t repeat why but as authors we want to write our books and that’s it.

Those times are long gone unless you write about wizards and have a nice bit of plastic surgery done. Or you have so many books out there that they do your leg work for you. But even then you have to play the game. Indie Authors MUST do it. House Published authors NEED to do it and are encouraged to do it by their publishing house.

What did Jo say in her article? A lot. But the one piece that I am talking about is as an author you MUST build up an email list. An email list is made up of people who have shown interest in something you were giving enough to give you their email address, which is a big deal these days. Start now before you even know you are going to write a book. Come up with some idea for a Newsletter and have those people sign up. 1000 people sign up and then get word of your book. Let’s say 10% buy your book. 100 people buy it. of that say 50% tell their f-f or OCF.

It keeps going and going. Your one email newsletter or email blast about your book is now spreading for you by word of mouth. Just think. Oprah speaks and people buy. Books never heard of may be mentioned by her and are then a best seller in days.

Read Jo’s article about how to set up a newsletter email system. It’s worth the time.

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites
on GoodReads
on Google+
on Facebook

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© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015

Author Presence: Setting your #Blog Header Photo

Author Presence: Installing your Header Photo on Your Blog

The last time here you installed your Blog Theme and your About,me Widget. Now we are going to do that thing people think is so cool. We are going to install the Header Photo.

What you need to know:

Size: Header 990 width x 180 height pixels

File Type: jpg or png (yes jpeg and jpg are the same)

If your image is larger than this you will end up cropping it, which means cutting down to the appropriate size. In some Themes you can move the crop area around to get what you want, in some you can’t move it. Also in some the suggested size does not have to be followed but I don’t recommend that your Header Photo be so large it takes up your entire landing page screen.

What should your Header Photo be?

Some choose to include their image with a quote from some famous author. Or perhaps just the quote. If you have books already, you can include them. Some people simply put a nice image of something they like, or something that they feel represents them or captures their personality. As with everything else remember the word, professional. This does not mean professional quality necessarily, but professional in nature and content.

For my example blog I am going to use a peaceful image for now.

We are once more headed to the ‘Dashboard’ of our Blog.

Once in the Dashboard, since we are changing some type of appearance of the theme/blog, we are going to to go:

Appearance

Then Customize

You will not be taken to a very, shall I say ‘funky’ looking page that is nothing like what we have see so far. On the page you see the landing page of your Blog as it appears now. At the bottom you can click the three different little screen options to see how your blog looks in the different types of devices it will be viewed on.

To the right you will find the areas to be used today:

  • Custom Design-This usually requires a premium, meaning paid upgraded packages.
  • Colors
  • Header
  • Front
  • Widgets
  • Site Title

The first thing to do is go to Header. I think that is a bit obvious since we are dealing with the Header Photo. I say this to simply show you the obviousness of what we are doing and how easy it is to actually figure things out on your own if you wish.  One piece of advice. Take note of what Theme you are using, by this I mean write it down. You will be tempted to try other Themes for fun and end up deciding you liked your first Theme and will ultimately have no idea what that Theme is after looking at 20 or so different ones. (Yes, I have been there and done that.)

For Coraline after I clicked on Header I have some built in images I may use. Instead I will click Add new image.

In the middle of your screen you will see Select Files. Click it.

I loaded a photo my son helped me take. I was lying on the ground and he blew bubbles above me. Thus my Header Photo is of one of those bubbles.

Bubbles 1 - Copy

 

You now see what your page looks like in the ‘funky page’ window.

If you don’t like it, just try again.

The image is going to be very short in height. For example if you look at the image of the bubbles the only bubble i was able to include was the large one in the middle. That’s fine with me, but just keep that in mind when you are coming up with your images. yes you can, with Coraline, expand the height but it will take away from your landing page visibility. I like to have at least my first post heading and some content showing.

If you are, and once you are happy let’s go ahead and look at the Front option here while we are in the Customize ‘funky page’.

You can either have a Static, meaning the same thing every time someone visits page, or a Your latest posts landing page. This really is up to you. I use the ‘Your latest posts option’. But some of you might wish to have the Static page be for advertising your latest book with their then been being able to click the Blog button on the Menu around your Header Photo . . . the normal location.

I don’t do anything with the Widgets here. And we will discuss them another day.

Site Title includes what your Site is called, regardless of your URL address. And it also include your Tagline. Remember the Tagline can be what you are the author of or just some one line thing like your motto. For now I am leaving mine blank.

You will also see a box to check or uncheck. Display Header Text. On my Ronovan Writes site since my Header Photo includes Ronovan Writes I don’t display the text. But for this blog I will keep it for now.

Now click Save at the bottom right. Then click the X in the bottom right.

You should now be back at your Dashboard. To see how everything looks in full screen, click your Site Title in the Top Left corner.

The next time we will connect our blog to the About.me account. And possibly connect it to Twitter as well.

You may be wondering when will it be time to post something, write a blog post/article. I am of the mind to have the connections to everything set first and then I can devote my time to writing. Sure there will be times you will connect other Social Media to your site along the way, but we’re going to make this right from the beginning.

Here are dimensions to keep in mind for the Coraline images.

  • Header 990 x 180 px
  • Content area 500 px wide (Depends on if you have two sidebars. Otherwise you will need to adjust. If too wide your sidebars will then be shifted down below or disappear all together.)
  • Footers 220 px wide
  • Feature widget 450 px wide
  • Primary widget area 220 px wide
  • Secondary widget area 180 px wide

Much Respect

Ronovan

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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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© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2014

Author Presence: Your Brand Name

Author Presence: Your Brand Name

In my previous Author Presence article I discussed About.me, it’s importance, it’s various categories and some advice about what to do when setting your account up.

social_media_tips.jpg

Choosing Your Brand Name

Your name is the best thing to use across all of your social media if you are an author or a blogger wishing to create a brand. Yes, you are a brand waiting to happen. So pop your top, let that fizzy goodness sound and get ready to drink success.

Picking your blog name, even if not your own name itself, needs to be something you are willing to actually say out loud to people. Think about it. “Oh yes, my Twitter handle is Cheetos Fingers, Mr. Top Literary Agent Ever.” Or perhaps you have something even less appropriate that we won’t get into.

Today is about determining what your Brand Name will be. Yes, I have advised it should be your name. Some use the name of their books or the main character in their books.

How to determine a Brand Name even if not Your Name:

  • You need to Google or search with some search engine the name you want to use. If you are wanting to have the website Ronovan.com, it’s not happening because I own it. So even if your name is Ronovan, you can’t use that. Yes you can use your full name, ronovansmith.com but you need to search. Search all aspects, even Twitter. Just because your name is Ronovan Smith does not mean you are the only one out there and using Twitter. Research.
  • Don’t stress over this. Take your time. Pick your top three or five or however many you would be happy with BEFORE you begin the search. If your name is say . . . John Smith you might want to try  johnsmithauthor.com or authorjohnsmith.com. Google it. By the way, those two are apparently available.
  • You then use that everywhere. That is your Brand. You might add something to the end of it for whatever like when doing promotions. AuthorJohnSmith.com Books or BookSigning or T-Shirts. Yes, you might look at trademarks and copyrights as well, but you have your presence started.
  • Also setting up a widely used Brand Name will help with Search Engine Operations (SEO). The more your name appears on posts, articles and anything that goes up on the internet the more and more you will rise in the search engine, I’ll call them lists. Basically the more you are searched and the more you put out attached to your name on the internet the higher in ‘ranking’ you will appear on things like Google. In other words, your name gets closer to that first page of the search results.
  • Also if you have a Series then THAT can be a Brand Name to use as well. I already have sites saved with the name of future series.

To Do Today:

  1. Determine your Brand Name
  2. If just beginning your Author Presence then set up an email with that Brand Name that is dedicated to your professional life. Even if a veteran of social media, do this as well. You will be doing a lot of signing up for various things and you need to have it in a place that is for your business.
  3. If you do the email, you can go ahead and go to WordPress.com and grab that Brand Name as your blog name. We will be venturing into the Blog life next, but in a slow way. I will give suggestions for ‘Themes’ to use. A Theme is basically the layout possible for your site along with colors and other options. There are plenty of sites out there to tell you how to do this but I am going to do it anyway with an Author in mind. So the Blog is optional today.

As always, remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

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Author Presence: About.me-What and How To.

Authors: Let’s get started setting up your web presence.

Each day this week I will have an article about another piece to setup. I am not into doing everything at once in one article. We’re not in a hurry. Doing everything in one article makes people feel overwhelmed when all they really need to do is come back to that article the next day. So what I like to do is . . . one thing at a time. Call it the reasonable teacher in me. Yes, I was a History teacher and a corporate trainer type among other things.

Something important to remember as we begin this process together; I want you to know that I will be giving ADVICE here. Take it or leave it. After I give it you then make it work or not. Everything I or anyone else tells you won’t do miracles on its own. YOU have to work it. I have social media things out there that I don’t ‘work’ and they are not doing anything for me. Actually putting all of this together for you is going to make me begin to ‘work’ what I have more.

I strongly advise you to sign up for a Twitter account. I know you might never use it but set one up. For one thing you want to get your Twitter Handle, your Name you like saved by you. But the real useful thing is that you will be able to use it in other accounts you set up. And you will be amazed at how many social media services out there will allow you to simply log in with Twitter. I tell you it comes in handy when you can’t remember a password. I have problems with remembering things, long story, amnesia’s a bummer.

This one account is what I have showing on my Twitter account for people to click on to find out about me.

It’s the About.me account.

Why set up an About.me Account.

Yes, that’s a big font there for this. I want you to know why you need one of these.

  • It’s a great place to point people to for all the basic information they need about you or you want to share and they can find links to everything else about you they might want. All of this is explained below in more detail.
  • You can connect to other authors and start networking by seeking them out and uniting. Building that platform.
  • People can find you based on your interests. Someone might be looking for a freelance writer and you have that down as an interest. Someone might want an interviewer and find me. You would be surprised at how many authors do NOT ask to be interviewed for free publicity for their books.

About.me

Think of your About.me as your central hub, the Grand Central Station of your social media empire.  From this one account people can find all the connections to your other media from one page.

What all can you include here?

I am going to give everyone credit for being able to sign up for an account. Once you’ve done that you will want to Edit Page. You do this by clicking your name in the top right and then Edit Page. If you are just signing in for the first time it may take you right to the Edit Page.

I’ll go in order of the tabs on the edit screen where you would actually be putting information you want to share.

As you are choosing images, links and information to share just remember that anyone can see this including agents and publishers.

Photo

  • Background Photo (You can choose from your computer, facebook, Instagram, or any you have saved with about. me so far.) This is the large full screen image. I have a photo of myself as my background. Why? Because this site is linked to my blog and I can use this photo or another photo mentioned later as my photo that I want people to see when the first show up to my Blog. One is professional and the other is casual and more of that sports guy in a baseball cap thing. You get to see two sides of my personality. Some people use a scenery photo as the Background Photo. It’s up to you.

Biography

  • Name-How do you want your name to appear. That’s right, just because you registered one way doesn’t mean it has to appear that way on the page. Don’t worry about the Font size now, you can change it later as well as for everything else in the Biography sections.
  • Headline-Think subtitle that appears under your Name. Ex: Author of the McGregor Trials Series.
  • Biography-This is where you get to tell everyone about you. You can put links in the Biography to any interviews you’ve been in or your books on whatever sales site you have them on. Brief or Long it’s up to you. But know this; the About.me is can appear on your blog and this Bio can appear there as well. Keep that in mind as you compose it.
  • Location-Don’t worry, you don’t have to be specific.
  • Work-Put what you want. I have writer, blogger, interviewer.
  • Education-Again, put what you want to.
  • Interests-You can have these displayed or not. I don’t see why not. People will find you based on these interests. Choose wisely.
  • Bio Photo-Uploaded from your computer and it’s best if it’s a head shot. Think Profile Photo. This is the other photo I was talking about earlier during the Background Photo explanation. This is my all American guy photo with sunglasses and baseball cap and looking a bit scruffy. There’s a reason it’s my smaller photo.

Colors-(Play around to see what looks best on your page.)

  • Page Colors-You can do both colors and patterns. Also choose the opacity.
  • Bio Box and Font Colors-You can choose the opacity. This is a tricky section. I have my box somewhat opaque instead of completely opaque because my words would not show up properly against the Background Photo. Think about that when choosing your Background Photo. One that has a lot of different colors in it will make choosing font colors difficult. Also remember there are people that are color blind so there are combinations that won’t work well.

Fonts

  • There are four different font areas on your About.me page. You can choose the font style you want and the size. The recommendation is no more than two font styles on the page. Play with it. Just remember people are looking at you. Don’t get so ‘fancy’ with your fonts that people have a difficult time reading them.

Apps

  • Apps are things like Twitter and Google+, in other words this is where you chose what Social Media Buttons will show up on your About.me page. They have three pages of apps/social media outlets for you to choose from. One thing to remember is, the About.me account is an app itself of sorts. When you set up your blog you can have a widget app for the About.me page. This is a great way to have all those media buttons for people to follow without cluttering up your blog.

Links

  • Featured Content-This will show recent content from the links you share.
    • Soundcloud-I don’t have Soundcloud right now but I have seen it out and about during my travels among various blog type platforms. You never know what will attract someone to follow you.
    • Links-My most recent blog post titles show on this page and people can click them to go to my Blog and read them.
    • Youtube or Vimeo-I have a Youtube account and am looking into doing something with it. Stay tuned for . . .  something. I really have no idea what.

Contact

  • Contact Info-This is just what it says it is, including your address. Doesn’t have to be filled out.
  • Settings-This is what you want to appear on your screen and what kind of compliments are possible. Yes, people can compliment your page. People will read your Bio and possibly be inspired by it or think you are creative or cool.  Groovy, right? Wait, I’m from the South. I spelled that wrong. Gravy, right?

 

Well that’s it for today. This should take you some time to set up if you do it properly and you know what? You can always make changes to it. I do all the time. And bonus tip time: Make sure to update your About.me page when things change About.YOU.

Come back tomorrow for the next step of setting up your web presence. It’s an easier one. Kind of. And it’s the next step closer to a Blog.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

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How to Write a Book Review.

How to Write a Book Review

One of my Mottos here at Lit World Interviews is ‘Read a Book, Write a Review’. Nice idea, huh? How do you write a review? Scary thought, isn’t it?

Trust me, it wasn’t easy my first time, and not my best. I was afraid I would say something wrong and perhaps dissuade someone from buying a book.

You’ve heard people talk about the KISS method of things. Keep it Simple Sweetie. For me I at times like to say Keep it Short Stupid, but stupid is like a profanity word around here and it really isn’t a nice word, but I was using it for myself. My having just explained all of that shows you WHY I use that definition at times, right?

Let’s give Keep it Simple Sweetie a shot.

But first;

Why Should You Write a Review?

The more reviews a book gets the better it is seen or listed on sites like Amazon. Even if you buy a book at local store, go to a site and write a review. It only takes a few minutes. Some Authors give away books and it would be kind of nice to simply write a review to help out. Free book, why not a review, right?

Okay, back to the Review Writing.

One thing above allBe Honest. This does not mean that if you hated the book that you go in and write a rant. It means you go in and give a few reasons why you didn’t like the book. Preferably intelligent reasons, or at least expressed in an intelligent manner. You don’t have to be vicious. In truth, many people will disregard your review if you are just completely one way or the other in your writing. If you are totally raving over the book, then people might look and think that you are a friend of the author or you are just too nice. If you are totally negative, people will just think you have issues. You need to give reasons.

Yes, I write reviews for friends if I have the book, but I make sure I am honest when I write them. I don’t always give the highest rating.

Even when giving 5 out of 5 stars I say why, and even give areas I would improve upon. I’ve never come across the perfect novel. Why? Because we all have our own opinions. But you don’t have to have read a perfect book to give a 5 out of 5 stars rating. If you enjoyed the book that much, then you enjoyed the book that much. That’s the real purpose of a book.

How do I write my reviews?

I like to use the sandwich method. I like to start off positive, the could have been better parts or what I would have liked parts in the middle, and then end it with something tasty as well.

Recently I did a review of a book where I started off by explaining that even though I didn’t think the book would be my kind of read, I gave it a chance and liked it. That I had let my stereotype thoughts of what a Romance of its kind was supposed to be like. I admitted I was wrong.

I gave details, that were not revealing of the full story itself in as far as giving away too much, to show I had read the book, and then gave reasons I enjoyed the writing style of the book.

Then I went into some things I would have liked to have seen such as the use of certain characters more, or the length of scenes. For this particular book there was very little to complain about. And in all honesty considering it was not my ‘kind’ of book, I was surprised. The writing was that good. I’ve spoken to the Author since reading the novel and she said, thank you but you have to remember, that is like the fifth revision you are reading, it didn’t start out that good. Encouragement for this future best selling Author, I must say. (Meaning me.)

Finally I ended with why I liked the book overall and whether or not it would make me want to read more either by the author or hope for another book in a series of the same characters.

I also gave a reason for my star rating.

A review can be as long or short as you want it to be. But it should be helpful.

The Parts of the Review

  • Show you actually read the book and why you liked or did not like the writing style
  • Were there things you would have liked to have seen differently, more of, less of
  • What did you like about the book as far as content of the story, any connections to characters, message of the book, would you read more by the author
  • Explain the reason for the rating (Optional)

Yes, if you just completely disliked the book, you might not be able to use the sandwich method, but remember to stay professional and use the review to help not only other possible readers but to also give feedback to the authors. They do read them and they want to know how to improve. They KNOW they are not perfect.

One last thing is to lable/title your review in the given field. Something that reflects your feel for the book and why you liked it.

You can read my Amazon Review here.

And as always, remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com