Archive | May 2015

Why you Must Monitor Comments to your Posts on Social Media Sites

hesaidwhatLet’s start with this provocative statement. THERE ARE CRAZY PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. No, really. There are. And there is no better way to see them than on the internet.

I’ve never met a medium that allows virtual strangers to post things that should a) never be mentioned in public b) can be so viciously mean that you would never say these things live to someone’s face or c) show their absolute ignorance and insensitivity on a topic.

I read comments and look at what people post all the time and I’m floored that the majority of the world really does think differently than I do. (I’m not claiming to be the “be all, end all” but I think I’m sort of normal). But, it scares me that there’s so many people that do not share my same values and beliefs. And you never quite know who they are. Most seem like regular people who we stand next to in line, live next door to and we never know what really lies in their souls.

But the ones that post, we do. So, when you post you must monitor the comments that might come in. Thankfully, most of the time the comments to my posts that take a strange turn are just plain odd. Google+ is my biggest issue. I’ll do a post about writing, about anything, and the comments I get have nothing to do with anything. Here are some recent examples.

Post: “”Writer’s Block… It’s okay to take a break… Really.” Let’s chat at my blog: https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/writers-block-its-okay-to-take-a-break-really/
#writersblock #gardening #creativity 

Comment: “if wont know m man i was his wife at one time he is a woman beaterand he get off on ithechace woman dos dope rock ciccan is his couse”

WHAT? What in the world is this person thinking? Why would they post this and take the time to comment on my post? I have since deleted the comment. I don’t even know if it’s spam or if this person is just highly under the influence or simply can’t spell and has issues.

POST: A video post about a little boy buying food for a homeless man at Waffle House: What we can learn from a 5 Year Old – Be kind, not everyone has what we have and it only takes a little.”

Comment: “Sorry, Good Luck.” 

WHY is this man sorry? Why say this? It’s not even relevant.

POST: “Why I Wrote a Horror Anthology.” It’s time to get all those short stories together and out of your computer… https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/why-i-wrote-a-horror-anthology/

COMMENT: The Ricket Row of any anthology of any horror and of deciding, which to publish from my own personal collection or anthology is a horror of its own and can be quite pathetically disturbing in its own nature, and as to why, perhaps some would never disguise that true reason.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Is he trying to show his erudition and be esoteric? I think he’s trying to engage me in a conversation about his own personal experiences but it’s so hard to figure out what he wants me to respond to.

POST: I will never let age be a factor in getting in the way of my dreams…#perseverance #dreaming
90This was a photo of a man in his 90’s writing his first best seller.

Comment. (There are two separate ones from the same guy.) “Zack the ru .U” and “Download google play”

WHY would he take the time to comment on this? Why? Even if he were bored, what is the point? Not to mention that nearly 40% of the posts will have a reply comment of “Hi, Ur Beutifil, Hi Friend, Ur Hair is nice, I want to %^&% you.” Delete, delete, delete (well, I keep the “hi’s” but I don’t respond hi back or like it.)

So, go through your social media now and again and make sure that nothing in there is irrelevant, too ridiculous or offensively blasphemous so that when people do go and comment, they don’t see these things in the thread. I’m all for free speech, but not on my dime.

I Still Make “Newb” Mistakes… Simple, yet Obvious Publishing Game Changers

homerUGH!!! I’ve been publishing actively since 2011 and I STILL make newbie mistakes where I just want to smack myself upside the head. So, I’m going to offer a few little tips (obvious to most, but probably not to everyone) that may make your social media life a bit easier.

#1… Your blog has a dedicated URL. I have been publishing my blog posts to Google+, Facebook and Twitter for years. I write the title and then write “check it out at http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com.” Do you see the problem? This is the general blog post URL. If anyone searches my topic and finds the post, they will click the link and it will NOT take them to the blog they want, but the most RECENT blog post I wrote. I may have just lost a person who actively searched for me. So, do this. Each blog you write has a dedicated URL. Click the title and then look at the top and you’ll see a dedicated URL. Paste that one to all your posts. You can make it prettier and shorter by going to bitly.com and shortening it there. This morning I just updated 44 posts on Google+ with the correct blog post URL links.

Example: “Yes, I Lived in a Haunted House” click http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com

WRONG!!! – This will take you to the blog I just wrote, this one. BUT, put the correct URL in and you will see it like this:

“Yes, I Lived in a Haunted House” https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/?s=i+lived+in+a+haunted+house

MUCH BETTER!

#2… Use Bitly.com (I mentioned it above). It’s integral when you post and copy a long URL because it sometimes gets screwed up in the translation… the phrase “it will get truncated in ellipses” is used. Think of it like the game telephone – it’s just too much at once to get it right in the end. Not to mention that it looks unsightly with this huge amazon link, or url taking up all the space on a post. Go to bitly, copy past the long url into their shorten link box, click and then copy THAT link to your post. Game changer.

Here’s an example to my book link on Amazon for THE HUNT FOR XANADU:

Long Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Xanadu-Kelsey-Porter-Book-ebook/dp/B00H6TM1MI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1431960166

Shortened Bitly Link: http://amzn.to/1ESPbRa

MUCH BETTER!

#3… Another Google+ trick. Please make sure all your posts are going to the right people. For a year I only had it going to my private groups, not even realizing I could click public. I didn’t know I had to click the box and select public in the scroll down menu. Game changer with the amount of views I got. Though you open yourselves up now to comments from people who will discuss your hair, who will hit on you, who will amazingly self promote on your post, or who will simply write ridiculous or blasphemous comments. Monitor them, delete, spam or report them.

#4… Don’t thank everyone for commenting or retweeting your tweet (unless you’re having a conversation). A “thank you” every time someone comments will just clog up your feed, and theirs. Step it up a notch and instead go to their page, see if they have a pinned post and tweet that. Or even better, go to their page and join in a conversation they’re having. That’s like a whole other thank you right there. And follow them too – they were kind enough to comment? They check out your blog? Go check out theirs. Take 10 minutes every day to return the favors.

#5… Update your web page. I went back to mine recently and read the “about” page and realized I was two books behind. THEN I went to my amazon bio page, my goodreads bio page and all the other bio pages I have out there and they were ALL old… update them. Right now.

#6… Not including a link to your next book on your kindle editions. Seriously, someone just read your book and enjoyed it. Add a section… “Want to read more by Elyse Salpeter? Check out her novel The Mannequins here…” and offer the link there, and then give the first chapter and then offer the link with all your other books listed at the back. Give them a way to stay with you after they’ve read the book. If you are self published and haven’t done this – it’s a simple add and re-upload.

#7… Your book’s key words on Amazon. You have to do this. On KDP when you are uploading your books, you are given an area to tag the book. Consider that a way for people to search for your books easily. You have a chicken wing recipe book? Then “Chicken Wings” are in that key word box. Make sure your key words are good and specific to your book. You want someone to type something about your book in the search box and you want to pop up on at least the first three pages of the search. For instance, you type in Buddhist Thriller, my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU pops right up there on page 1. You type in Egyptian Star Gods and THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB shows up on page 1. You type in “living dolls” and THE MANNEQUINS pops up on page 2. Find key words so that when people search for very specific things, your book pops up.

#8… This is a good one. Check your amazon author page and SEE what it looks like. Do you have your blog or twitter linked to it? I was shocked that my twitter feed was linked to that page because now my fans searching for me saw all the random ridiculous conversations I was having on twitter. My advice? Get rid of twitter on there. Go to your settings on your page and edit it out. That’s a personal recommendation, but once I did, my amazon author page looked a whole lot better. Now it’s just my books, my blogs (which are general enough for the masses) and not the random, untargeted conversations that happen on twitter.

Ok, I could do five thousand tips here because I figure I’ve made all the mistakes and I still continue to do so. Sometimes I’m floored that I’ve missed something so crucial and feel like I’ve wasted all my time and effort, but I have to be kind to myself. I don’t have a team of people doing any of this for me (a publishing house, an agent, a PR person, an assistant). It’s just me, learning like everyone else. So, if you’ve made a mistake, fix it. Easy peasy.

Now, if someone will teach me Scrivener. I just can’t do it and I’ve heard it’s a game changer. For me, not so much… yet.

Writer’s Block? It’s okay to take a Break… Really.

Half of the planted garden

Half of the planted garden

Is Writer’s Block a real thing? Yes, and no. As authors, you walk that strange little tightrope if you complain you haven’t been writing because you have writer’s block. If you do, you’ll usually get one of two responses. The “Oh, don’t worry, go read, draw or take a break and it will all come back to you in due time,” to “Seriously, that’s such a lame excuse, just write and stop being such a pansy, whiny baby.” Now, maybe other writers really don’t call us whiny babies, but we feel that way.

Tulips growing around the house

Tulips growing around the house

I guess the question is, “are you writing to pay the bills, or writing for fun?” I write for fun. Sure, I’d like to pay the bills and do this full-time but at the moment, even with seven books in market and another on the way, my editing, covers and formatting cost more money than the royalties I’ll bring in for that book in a year. I’m not complaining, it just is what it is.

But writer’s block. Is it real? I think it is. I think it’s like your back hurting or being exhausted. Sometimes I think our brains simply need a break. It’s like working out the same muscle over and over. If all you do is squats, or ab work, you’re going to burn that area out. Sometimes you just have to break up the exercises to allow other areas to get trained. So for me, when I’m struggling to work on a novel, before I stress out too much and pull my hair out (yes, I’m not immune to this as I’m at this point right now still stuck on chapter five of the Kelsey Porter series, and have been stuck for two sort of frustrating weeks), I suggest doing something else to occupy your mind. Draw something, go on a vacation, go to a museum, garden. Do something that’s interesting and makes you happy. There’s nothing worse than allowing ourselves to get stuck within our own minds and making ourselves crazed. Writing is fun, but it’s hard work. It’s REALLY hard work and anyone who thinks differently has never done it.

dahlias

dahlias

While I struggle through book #3 of my series, I put together all my horror short stories into an anthology that is being released next month. It’s called Ricket Row and is at the formatter now. Once that got sent to the formatter, since I still struggled with the book, I put together all my science fiction short stories into another anthology and now I’m editing THEM. While I’m not necessarily writing, I’m editing and still creating. I won’t lie, I wish this third story was coming easier, but at the moment, it isn’t. I pull it up, and think about it nearly every day, but it is what it is.

So instead, I try to keep myself busy. I do these editing projects above, I garden (I put out my entire veggie garden the past few days) and I planted tons of flowers and bulbs. These things make me happy. Things are growing and I feel like I’m creating.

So I leave you with this… when you struggle, take a teeny step back. You’re not giving up, you’re simply resting your brain. Do something to “find your happy.” I guarantee you that your writer’s block will end at some point. Just give yourself the permission to let it end at its own pace.

Why I Wrote a Horror Anthology

Coming Summer 2015

Coming Summer 2015

Do you ever feel like you have a thousand things going on at once? I’ve got a full-time job, a pretty demanding family and I have all these side things I love to do. I know people who devote their efforts to one book at a time. When I’m in the zone I can do that, but right now I’m sort out there doing a ton of things instead. I’ve started both Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter Series, Book #3 in the FLYING series and I edited a romantic supernatural thriller I’ve for some insane reason been sending out to agents. (who, by the way 18 out of 25 of them have not responded after 3+ months). So, while I’ve been working on committing to something, I thought about all of the horror short stories I have in my computer, just sitting there. Most I’ve sent out to magazines for consideration. Many got very nice responses, but weren’t picked up. I then said, “why don’t I compile them all together into a book?”

And that’s how RICKET ROW came to be. I took all my horror, vampire, zombie and just plain creepy short stories from 2K – 5K words in length, and the shorter flash fiction pieces that are about 1500 words max, then added the micro flash fiction of 100 words each and then for fun, threw in my 140 character horror twitter tweets. And that’s how I got the anthology together.

It’s at its second beta reader right now, then it is off to a final proofer and formatter and hopefully will be out into the world early summer. My feeling was, I wrote a horror tale called THE MANNEQUINS and it’s a creepy little book that’s getting some really nice responses. So, if folks enjoyed my horror novel, they’ll be sure to like this. Not to mention, now I’ll have another book in my inventory.

If you’d like to check out my horror tale THE MANNEQUINS and get a taste for how I write, feel free to check it out here: http://amzn.to/1DV9Z9V

And if you love the cover for Ricket Row, check out THE COVER COLLECTION. I was simply surfing through the web one day and came across this site and saw their pre-made horror covers, saw how reasonable they were and it was like an epiphany went off to get this book done. They were SUPER NICE and SUPER easy to work with. Seriously, the process with them was painless. I wrote them with three covers I liked, and the copy I wanted the cover to have and asked them for their advice. They responded with which ones they felt would work best. I chose this image and then they sent back 8 different designs with different fonts. I ended up with “design #7.” After I told them I loved it, within about 10 minutes I had the final JPEG version in my hands to use for promotion. Once the book is formatted and I know the page count and get the back blurb together, they will also work on the create space cover for me. All paid through paypal.

So, stay tuned for release news and feel free to check out my other works at my newly revamped web page at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

The Stress of Writing Book #3 in a Series

Porter Montage (1)So, here you are. You wrote your first book in a series and put it out to the world. It’s something you’re excited about, you have a new main hero you think people will love and you have all these characters you want to bring to the world. When I wrote THE HUNT FOR XANADU, I was so nervous. I felt like this was my standout novel. Something I wanted to be smart, interesting and mainstream. I had the same self doubts like everyone else. Was it any good? Would people buy into this fantastical thriller steeped in Buddhist Spiritual mysteries or would I thoroughly embarrass myself?

Thankfully, it was well received. People liked my super smart and fearless Kelsey Porter, her cop boyfriend Desmond and wanted to see more of her brother, Ari. So when I wrote Book #2 in the series, I wanted to up the ante on all of them. But I had some doubts. Would it be as well received as book #1? Did I totally mess up the series with all my fantastical ideas? Was my premise just too crazy? With all the twists, was I trying to be too smart? I didn’t know, but I got the guts and put THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB out to the world just two months ago and people are starting to read it and react to it. Thankfully, they like it so far, (SQUEE!) reviews are coming in and fingers crossed I get more in soon.

So now I’ve started Book #3 in the series and suddenly I realize this is serious. People who have bought into Book #1 and Book #2 are people LIKE ME, who want to read the next book in the series NOW! I’ve already had multiple people ask me when the next book is being released! (gulp) I know what it means to get involved in a favorite series. I can’t get enough of them and wait with bated breath for the next one to come out.

So is this what’s happening now with my books? Can I say I’m getting fans? That is suddenly a lot of pressure and I’m stuck on chapter 5, hoping that I don’t screw this up. I have a wonderful book development editor I work with named Denise Vitola, and I throw things her way all the time. She listened to my ideas and the vague outline for the book and thought they were sound, but had a sage piece of advice that was so important it made me take a step back. You see, this Kelsey Porter series is a “thriller with fantastical aspects,” but I’m a writer who tends to “write fantasy with thriller aspects.” I need to make sure that I soundly keep this book thriller so that I don’t lose my thriller fans, while still being true to the story’s fantastical aspects. But she had another wise piece of advice to help allay my fears. You see, if I’ve gotten readers through Book #1 and Book #2, and they want to read book #3, then it’s pretty certain they’ve already bought into my premise. I just need to keep it real and deliver with the next book.

So for everyone that has read Book #1 and Book #2 of the Kelsey Porter series, thank you so much. I love hearing from you and I love seeing the reviews more than you know. Those reviews help me in so many ways, (even if they are only a line or two). They help with ads and promotions for some sites that won’t let you advertise until you have a certain amount of reviews. Not to mention, it’s great for me to actually hear from readers what they think.

So, Book #3 is 27 pages along so far. I have an idea of what I want to happen and where I want it to go, but no idea how I’m getting there yet. But I’m working on it. When I get immersed in writing a book, the story lives with me and now this one is always in the back of my mind. I may not be physically writing at times, but little scenarios constantly play in my head and I roleplay if scenes work or not. So don’t worry, I’m thinking about Kelsey all the time. I think about Ari, Josh and some other characters that will be new to the series. And yes, you’ll find out what Ari is up to… and I assure you, it’s no good. Well, I guess that depends on what you consider “no good.” 😉

On a final note, while I plow away on Book #3 I’ve also been working on other things. If you were fans of my horror tale, THE MANNEQUINS, I’ve just completed a horror anthology and it is at a beta reader right now. It’s going to be called RICKET ROW and is a collection of creepy psychological horror tales I’ve written over the years. Look for that in early June if all goes well. And lastly, I updated my web page, again. Love to hear what you think of it, so please check it out at http://www.elysesalpeter.com